Clean Energy Action’s research has been near the heart of the City of Boulder’s understanding of why working with a coal-based investor-owned utility (IOU) can be so difficult for cities that are serious about clean energy and shutting down fossil-powered generation. We have been early but quiet supporters of local power – a municipal utility created for clean energy generation plus local innovation, more reliability and possibly lower rates.
For years CEA has accessed XcelEnergy’s dockets at the Public Utilities Commission and found the layers of power and law that protect the monopoly’s hold on the electricity market in most of Colorado. From those documents came the truth of the company’s generation plans with the fuel costs being passed straight to ratepayers while the profits go out of state, from the return-on-investment on capital spent on fossil-burning plants. Even as coal proved to have an untenable future with the industry’s many bankruptcies (never mind the climate impacts), Xcel overbuilt its coal burning fleet, and its whole system, for profits.
All of this was done in the face of increasingly visible climate change. All of this was done as the cost-competitiveness of wind power was proven in Xcel’s dockets. All of this was done amid state politics that were unlikely to pass legislation (such as Community Choice Aggregation, or Deregulation) to allow jurisdictions to contract independently for their electricity. Xcel customers have been trapped with Xcel’s foot dragging on clean energy and restrictions on distributed generation & storage, all to protect the “central-gen” model based on fossil-burning plants.
All of this is why CEA embraced the many advantages of municipalization – local municipal power that promises to be more affordable, reliable and responsive to ratepayers than IOU power ever can be. Boulder should continue this journey to find out the true costs of this venture!
With that, we refer you to many fine sources on this:
- 1. The Cost of staying with Xcel It will surprise you!
- 2. Busting Public Power Myths This has info on the most pernicious talking-points against Boulder’s effort, and about rate increases and interest payments to Xcel.
- 3. Why Business Supports 2L You can download the printable PDF from this page.
- 4. Leslie Glustrom’s Power Point for City Council Xcel Costs more than Public Power
- 5. LATE BUT BEST ~ former Mayor Matt Appelbaum’s take on the issues for 2L 2O and 2P.
- Pressroom – we have two videos now: