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Mountain News

Telluride less than it could have been



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ASPEN, Colo. — The real estate boom of the last three years is hitting some minor bumps. In Pitkin County, where Aspen is located, sales in May were down nearly 16 per cent compared with the same month last year.

However, February through April all gained against last year, putting the total dollar volume of sales at 4.66 per cent ahead of last year’s record pace, reports The Aspen Times.

Down-valley in Garfield County, where Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and Rifle are located, sales in May jumped 39 per cent.

‘Another’ hydrogen highway?

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — Wind and other so-called "clean" sources of electricity, unlike coal or even natural gas, is being talked about in ski towns across the West. But one problem is that power from wind comes only when the wind is blowing. Most people want their lights, ski lifts, and air conditioners with greater reliability.

In Wilson, a small town in Jackson Hole, an entrepreneur named Ted Ladd believes he has a better idea. He has received a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that seeks to use both wind and water.

Northeastern Wyoming, around Gillett, has both in abundance. The water, however, is found in conjunction with seams of coal-bed methane. It is salty and unsuitable for many other uses.

Ladd proposes to use the electricity from the wind turbines to split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is used for a variety of purposes. But that’s just the first phase, he tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide. Ultimately, he envisions a hydrogen pipeline that would, for example, fill fuel-cell powered cars traveling along Interstate 80, which extends between Oakland, Salt Lake City, and Chicago.

Biodiesel now used in entire fleet

PARK CITY, Utah — After a one-year test, municipal leaders in Park City have decided biodiesel is their cup of tea. The city’s entire fleet of diesel-powered vehicles is now using B-20, in which 20 per cent of the fuel is derived from soybeans and other vegetative matter.

What’s better, this adventure in environmental do-goodism is actually costing the town less money. In the last year, the price of conventional diesel has increased. Now, biodiesel will save 5 cents per gallon. The town expects to burn 215,000 to 220,000 gallons per year, mostly in transit buses.

Eric Nesset, the town’s fleet manager, said the town last summer began using B-20 exclusively in its old town trolley. A concern was whether the fuel would gel during cold winter temperatures. It didn’t. "We never had a bit of a problem," he told Mountain Town News. "We had a lot of cold weather – as cold a winter as we ever had here, and we just never had a problem with it," he reported.