Vail Daily letter: County leads on solar
July 17, 2016
As a community that relies on snowpack for our very economic existence, not to mention being the headwaters for 18 states, Eagle County residents should be concerned about rising temperatures and climate change. Eagle County Government's recent purchases of 1.6 megawatts of community and rooftop solar reduce the greenhouse gases that promote climate change. Solar now replaces the electricity used in seven county buildings, and is the equivalent of removing 420 cars off the road or 210 homes off the grid. While massive changes on a global scale are needed to fully impact greenhouse gas emissions, the often-politicized issue has made it difficult for national governments to act. The Paris climate talks highlighted the critical role that local communities need to play to have a collective impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Rich Landy's July 7 letter in the Vail Daily comparing the county's solar purchases as a climate protection strategy to spitting in Lake Mead to raise the water level is shortsighted. Would Mr. Landy have us all do nothing? I am a grandmother, and to me, this course of action would be unacceptable.
We all need to pitch in, and it's time to get serious about solar — a clean and low cost way to power our buildings. The fact that the county commissioners have been able to turn solar energy into a sound investment, with an annual 7 percent rate of return (or $325,000 annually), while addressing a critical global issue, shows sound judgment. In addition to modeling renewable energy use, the county has also taken a complete comprehensive approach to climate action. They have joined the advocacy group Colorado Communities for Climate Action to influence state and federal policy. They are also coordinating a countywide climate action plan. I am grateful that Eagle County is leading on this issue, and hopefully their actions will inspire other local governments to act.
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