Energy

Your Morning News - January 27th, 2015

Jan 27, 2015

Aspen Approves Molly Gibson Lodge Plans

Aspen City Council approved a proposal to redevelop the Molly Gibson Lodge, last night. That includes building two single-family homes on a vacant lot next door. The plan is to demolish the existing lodge and replace it with a new three-story structure. City Council member Art Daily echoed a general sentiment among officials.

“I think it’s really very important to our community, this reconstruction of the lodge. I like the balance. And the single family homes, I think that they actually fit the context of the neighborhood in which they’re being placed.”

The new lodge will have 68 rooms and one affordable housing unit.

Council members decided to wait until the coming months to review lodging proposals from downtown developer Mark Hunt. Hunt is proposing two affordable hotels, but some council members and residents have raised questions about whether they’re a good idea.

Those decisions Monday night came after a heated debate about how City Concil should respond to a proposed ballot initiative. The locally organized effort would strip power from Council and put it in the hands of voters for development that wouldn’t follow land use code. In response, council members decided to consider making some changes this Spring to Aspen’s land use code.

Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture chose a Gypsum biomass plant to participate in a federal energy program. Eagle Valley Clean Energy was one of 36 facilities nationwide chosen to be part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Hybrids to Hydrogen to Robots? Delivering the Future of Mobility Today

From Toyota's big bet on hydrogen fuel cell technology to the development of cars that drive themselves, connected vehicles and even robots, the world's largest automaker is delivering the future of mobility. Andrew Ross Sorkin and Toyota's Osamu Nagata will discuss what's in the works now and how we'll be getting around tomorrow.

Osamu Nagata, Andrew Ross Sorkin

www.usbr.gov

The City of Aspen is working toward powering its utility with 100-percent renewable energy. A good chunk of that energy will come from a new hydropower facility in Ridgway, Colorado. If all goes according to plan, the City will start getting power from the facility on February 20th. Aspen’s one of two entities purchasing power from the plant. Mike Berry is with the Tri-County Water Conservancy District, the organization running the plant. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen.

www.nrel.gov

The City of Aspen is working with an outside agency to come up solutions on how to meet their renewable energy goal. The City’s utility wants to be completely renewable by 2015. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the City is working with NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to come up with solutions. And, the controversial Castle Creek hydro plant is still in the cards.

Elise Thatcher

More coal miners in the North Fork Valley are being laid off. Oxbow Mining company… owned by part-time Aspen resident and billionaire Bill Koch… laid off more than a hundred employees yesterday at its Elk Creek mine. It makes for a tough start to the holiday season for Paonia and other neighboring communities. And it’s part of a powerful domino effect after fires at the mine early this year disrupted production.

Courtesy Telluride Watch Newspapers

The recent mining accident near Ouray was one of the worst in recent Colorado history. Two miners died and nearly two dozen were injured at the Revenue-Virginius mine, of Star Mine Operations.  More details about what happened are starting to come out. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with reporter Samantha Wright, who’s covering the accident for the Telluride Watch newspapers.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Greater Sage Grouse is in trouble. The bird looks like a large chicken and has an elaborate mating dance… and it's habitat across the West has been under siege for several decades. There’s been big effort to help the bird. Now, Garfield County officials are watching closely as the federal government decides how closely to protect a big chunk of its Colorado habitat. There’s disagreement about how to do that... and huge restrictions on private and public land are at stake if officials get it wrong. The BLM is taking comments on its habitat plan for the Greater Sage Grouse.

Elise Thatcher

Colorado is more energy efficient than any of its neighboring states… and it’s one of the most efficient in the Intermountain West. But federal money is running out for some programs, and organizations across the state are looking for new ways to fund initiatives they say are making a difference. That was one theme at a conference in Carbondale on Wednesday, November 13th.

Reporter: The event was organized by Clean Energy Economy for the Region, or CLEER. Attendees came from across the state gathered in town hall for the event...

Elise Thatcher

Two weeks ago, the coal mine near Paonia owned by billionaire Bill Koch laid off more than half of its employees. The Koch owned Oxbow Mining company hopes to expand operations again in the future and rehire some of the workers.  In the meantime the layoffs are creating hardships for a number of communities.

Mike Ludlow: “It’s very sad time around the mine, you know to lose your income and lose your job is real traumatic, so it’s very painful decision for us.”