A small city sets a big example | PostIndependent.com

A small city sets a big example

Sometimes principle is more important than price.

Such is the case with the city of Glenwood Springs’ increased commitment to buying wind power for its municipal electric system.

The city recently decided to begin obtaining 8 percent of its electric power from wind, up from 4 percent now. The move is expected to increase its wholesale cost for electricity about 1 percent, or $45,000.

It’s well worth the extra expense, and we applaud city officials’ decision to do more to support the development of alternative energy sources.

It also may prove to be a wise investment that benefits city electric customers. As traditional fossil-fuel energy sources continue to rise in cost, wind is becoming cost-competitive, and it’s likely to become even more attractive in the future.

Until that time, the development of wind farms depends on buyers of electricity being willing to pay a premium to support emerging energy sources. With Glenwood’s recent decision, it is in “elite territory” nationally in its commitment to alternative energy, said Gary Goodson, associate director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, an Aspen-based nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy.

Some credit for Glenwood’s action goes to someone who no longer has a role with the city. Before his term of office expired last fall, former City Council member Dan Richardson had urged council to consider increasing its wind power consumption. Credit goes to council for being so readily agreeable to his request.

It’s a consistent message for council to be sending at the same time it has called for the top of the Roan Plateau near Rifle to be kept off limits from natural gas drilling.

In promoting a clean and renewable alternative, the city is teaming up with many other communities across the United States that are taking action to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. An example of this was Aspen’s decision to hire someone ” Richardson ” to coordinate the city’s efforts to fight global warming. Such communities aren’t waiting to take the lead from the federal government, which refused to sign on to the Kyoto accord to reduce this environmental threat.

Instead, they’re setting an example that we can hope other cities, along with states and eventually the entire nation, will follow.

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