Avon gets renewable energy grant | VailDaily.com

Avon gets renewable energy grant

AVON ” The Town of Avon is one step closer to embarking on a project that would use excess heat from the wastewater treatment plant to melt snow on the town’s streets.

Gov. Bill Ritter announced Tuesday Avon was one of 14 recipients of money from the state’s New Energy Communities Initiative ” a program designed to promote energy efficient projects. The grant is worth $1.5 million.

Without the grant, Avon likely would have to back out of the snowmelt project because of the expense, town manager Larry Brooks said. Traditional snowmelt, while cheaper to install, would have too large a carbon footprint, he said.

Tom Plant, director of the governor’s energy office, said the program is designed to reward communities for innovative ideas that save energy and create jobs.

The town has long debated the environmental consequences of installing a snowmelt system on its new Main Street, which will be the centerpiece of Avon’s soon-to-be redeveloped downtown. Snowmelt can make walking a lot safer, but it also requires burning fossil fuels and dumping tons of earth-warming carbon dioxide in the air.

By recovering excess heat from the water treatment plant, the town could snowmelt Main Street with a much smaller carbon footprint, town leaders say.

The Town Council tentatively approved the project earlier this year.

State House Rep. Christine Scanlan praised the Avon project.

“While so much of America’s middle-class is facing tough times and a weak economy, I am proud of our unique ability to support innovation and entrepreneurship in our new energy economy,” Scanlan said. “Here in Avon, thanks to this grant, we are going to save taxpayers’ money, conserve energy, reduce our dependence on foreign fuel, and most importantly, create jobs.”

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