National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Help Aspen Analyze its 100% Renewable Energy Goal




National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Help Aspen Analyze its 100% Renewable Energy Goal



Contact: Dave Hornbacher, Director of Utilities and Environmental Initiatives, City of Aspen,; 970-429-1983


Aspen, Colorado – November 15, 2013 – TheCity of Aspen is partnering with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to evaluate its electric utility’s energy portfolio and identify the best alternatives to obtain its goal of reaching one hundred percent renewable energy in 2015.

“This is the perfect time and the right organization to help us reach our goal,” said Dave Hornbacher.  “We are scheduled to discuss our energy portfolio and future options with City Council, which we hope will also include a broader discussion with the community at these meetings about power sources for our renewable electric utility.  There is no better expert to facilitate this effort than NREL.”

The City has contracted with NREL as an independent resource to accomplish several goals.  It is now reviewing the City’s current energy portfolio, projected demand, existing contracts and past studies on renewable energy generation options.  Through this process NREL will be discussing with Aspen the potential benefits and challenges inherent to various proposed renewable energy alternatives, presenting options that have not been available in the past and suggesting next steps.

“This is a three step project,” said Hornbacher.  “First is a presentation to City Council next week of existing conditions.  The team will then get general direction from City Council and NREL will return later with a list of the pros and cons for each available option.  Last, based on council’s selection, NREL will go into a more robust review and analysis of a short list of options and how each choice could affect the overall goal of becoming one hundred percent renewable in 2015.”

The timeline for the project is projected to last throughout the winter, but is dependent on depth of research and council requests.  In addition to three presentations to City Council, NREL will also write a summary report.


“The City has already done a significant amount of background work, and NREL is using this solid foundation on which to build a further layer of analysis to help inform the City’s decisions,” NREL Senior Energy Analyst Joyce McLaren said.

Because Aspen wants to obtain a full picture of energy options, it has also contracted with NREL to review the City’s energy efficiency program portfolio with the goal of identifying additional programs for consideration and implementation.  This project will be similar in nature as it will also entail a review of existing policies and programs, note areas of opportunity, and offer suggestions for improvements and expansions for next steps.  This project will begin in 2014.

To date, Aspen is one of only a small number of the two thousand publically owned utilities nationwide to have set a one hundred percent renewable goal. 

“We realize renewable energy and efficiency programs go hand in hand to reduce our energy needs, plan for the future and be as lean and clean as possible with our electricity,” said City Manager Steve Barwick.  “NREL is a leader in both fields and I am confident our relationship will help Aspen set a definitive example as a forward thinking and renewable municipal utility.”

NREL will be giving its first presentation on renewable energy alternatives at a City Council work session on November 19, 2013.



Posted on Friday, November 15, 2013