Blake: Renewing interest in renewables (column)
December 4, 2015
I am 13, and I am studying energy and the environment in my 8th grade science class. I am trying to share what I have learned and inform citizens of Colorado about how our energy is used and how we can make a change.
For starters, Colorado uses mostly hydroelectric, solar and natural gas for its electricity.
Colorado was the first state to have a law passed saying that 30 percent of all of its electricity sold had to be derived from renewable resources (Recourses that will come back like solar wind and water). Colorado has the fifth biggest photovoltaic grid in the United States that caries electricity to all of the state. Also, in 2012-13, we made our net electric generation from solar increase 20 percent. This makes Colorado a pioneer in energy technology. It was the first of its kind in the United States.
Unfortunately, 55 percent of Summit County houses are unoccupied yearly. Due to this, some of these houses are using much energy and sucking up a lot of electricity. The average household electric bill is $1,551.
The environmental changes with these electric sources can be drastic. To create Lake Dillon, they had to flood and relocate a whole town. Dams can bring a huge impact on the wildlife and the agriculture, killing fish and bring in new unwanted species and can cause big temperature changes in the river and water. With wind farms, it can cause more bird deaths than usual. That is currently being worked on in labs and industries to make this problem a little less damaging. This will hopefully be fixed soon. Natural gas is a job opportunity for lots, but it is also very dangerous. It can leak into rivers and make employees sick and even kill them if they work there for too long. It is also not a renewable resource, so it will eventually run out and we will have to find an alternative.
These recourses also have a big economic impact in the community. Building the Dillon Dam made it easier and cheaper to power Summit County. A lot of the stores in Breckenridge and Silverthorne have solar panels on top powering the stores and bringing some costs down. If half of the houses in the county put up solar panels, we could all afford to contribute to a new solar field or a newer generator for the dam.
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Personally, I like how Colorado uses a lot of renewable resources, but I think we are missing an important factor. In plains areas, like South Park, we could install a lot more wind farms. The average wind speed in Fairplay is 24.32 mph. That would translate to a ton of energy. In June through October, Fairplay has wind speeds of up to 75 mph. If placed in the most ideal places, wind turbines could be very efficient.
I think that we also need to find a way to shut off the power to the houses that are unoccupied completely while the residents are away. There was also a chance to put in solar panels in Summit Cove, and, for some reaso,n it was stopped. This could have powered a large fraction of Summit Cove and helped keep some of the blackouts from happening during storms.
Thank you for this opportunity to voice my opinion and get some information out there.
Indiana Reed Blake lives in Dillon.
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