Aspen, Colorado is known for being a wealthy ski town. And now it’s trying for another claim to fame — a 100 percent renewable city — only the third in the U.S.
But it’s a tricky claim to prove. Aspen owns two hydroelectric facilities, but there are no big solar panels or wind farms in the area that can provide enough power for the town. Aspen still draws electricity off of the grid. That means a lot of the homes and businesses get their electricity from local power plants, which burn coal or natural gas.
So how does it make its 100 percent renewable claim? Aspen buys credits from other renewable energy producers, like a wind farm in Kimball, Nebraska and a biogas facility at a landfill in Iowa. Those purchases offset the town’s fossil fuel use.
Inside Energy went to Aspen to find out more about how the city is reaching its 100 percent renewable claim.