All posts by Steven Winter

5/10, 6pm: Boulder City Council to discuss target of 100% clean electricity by 2030

City Council Study Session
6 pm
Tuesday, May 10th
Boulder Municipal Building

Boulder city council will take up the question on the evening of May 10th: “does council agree the city should set a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030?” This rapid shift to renewable electricity would be met through a series of aggressive proposed interim targets, including 50 percent renewable electricity by 2020.

The council memo (packet pages 26-55 of the council memo) notes that “these goals should be considered independently of the effort to create a municipal electrical utility. A municipal utility is a means to this end because it allows the city to control its energy source.” Electricity from Xcel is currently only 22% renewable. The City would have 14 years to transition make up the other 78% (currently 52% coal and 26% natural gas).

Although you can’t give public comments at the study session, please join others in showing their support by wearing green to the meeting and by emailing a short personalized email to to tell the council that you support 100% clean electricity by 2030.

6 pm, April 25: Sustainability Pioneers – Short Clean Energy Documentaries

Sustainability Pioneers – Short Clean Energy Documentaries

6 pm Event Begins
5:45 pm Light Refreshments
Boulder Main Public Library

Boulder Creek Room

Join the members of Clean Energy Action and Empower Our Future for two short (10-12 minute) inspiring films and a community discussion with film maker Kirsi Jansa.

The first film focuses on New York state and its Reforming the Energy Vision program, part of the state’s effort to get half of the state’s energy from clean sources by 2030.

The second film features Saerbeck, a German town of about 7,000 people that started its climate protection and adaptation work in 2009 and now produces 300% more renewable energy than it consumes.

About Sustainability Pioneers

The short documentary series Sustainability Pioneers shows people taking bold steps to address climate crisis and lay a trail towards a more livable planet. All films are available for free on the Sustainability Pioneers site.

The series is produced by Kirsi Jansa, a documentary filmmaker and journalist and the producer of Gas Rush Stories, short documentaries on shale gas exploration.

Sustainability Pioneers is funded by The Heinz Endowments, The Fisher Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Roy A. Hunt Foundation. It is produced in collaboration with Rachel Carson scholar and energy consultant Patricia DeMarco and The Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

The 2016 Community Energy Fair Was a Huge Success

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in Clean Energy Action’s second annual Community Energy Fair! This year’s Fair was a huge success, drawing hundreds of people and raising thousands of dollars to support clean energy.

CEA Energy Fair

Participants enjoyed a prestigious speaker lineup, cookies baked in a solar oven, electric vehicles on display, opportunities to take action for a wide range of causes, and more.


8:30 AM Christina Gosnell- “Climate Ransom”
Clean energy advocate, coal cost and supply research analyst

9:00 AM Martin Ogle- “Fire and Photosynthesis; Our Energy Future” 

Founder, Entrepreneurial Earth LLC;  Chief Naturalist, No. VA Regional Park Authority, 1985-2012;  long-time energy educator

9:30 AM Russell Mendell- “Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking – CO Ballot Initiatives 75 and 78”

Clean energy advocate and activist working with Coloradans Against Fracking, Earth Guardians and other organizations

10:00 AM Dr. James White- “Climate Change: What’s happening now, and what’s to come”

Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies, Director of Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder
11:00 AM Heather Bailey- “Boulder’s Energy Future”
Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development for the city of Boulder

11:30 AM Hunter Lovins- “Triumph of the Sun Revisited: It’s Over, Renewables Win” 

President and Founder of CO non-profit Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), author and sustainable development champion, consultant with governments, communities, companies worldwide. Time Magazine, Millennium Hero for the Planet.

12:30 PM Ken Regelson-“100% Renewables-Let’s Go!”

Founder of, COSEIA Sunny award recipient, energy policy analyst, electrical engineer

1:30 Dr. Kevin Trenberth- “Our planet is running a fever: global warming is happening”

Distinguished Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), prominent in all aspects of climate variability and climate change research including focuses on changes in global energy and water cycles

2:30 Luke Straka- “Climate, Health, and the Latino Community”

Research and Development Coordinator for Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO)


Renewable Spring Sweeps Across Western U.S.

Quick Take: In a dramatic reversal of fortune for clean energy, utilities and state utility regulatory bodies have decided to remove barriers for wind and solar development while phasing out coal power.


April 1, 2016 – For Immediate Release


Steven Winter, Clean Energy Action, 720-449-6763

Coal Swept Away in Winds of Change

In a dramatic reversal of fortune for clean energy, utilities and state utility regulatory bodies have decided to remove barriers for wind and solar development while phasing out coal power.

Across the West, major utilities are joining together in a pledge to phase out coal power plants by 2020. At a special meeting of the board of Colorado’s largest utility, resolutions were adopted to sign onto the pledge and invest in gigawatts of new wind and solar, with explicit commitments to share the solar market with independent installers.

“We’re not going to put good money after bad. Coal mines are playing out as company after company files for bankruptcy – the days of coal that can be mined at a profit are over,” said the president of the board of directors. “We’re proud of the great success we’ve had with investments in wind and solar – lowering emissions, saving ratepayers on their bills, and creating jobs.”

“Colorado has tremendous potential for new renewable energy so why be involved with dirty energy?” he continued. “Everyone’s got to do their part if we’re going to meet the Paris commitments. For us that means many gigawatts of new wind and solar – one gigawatt is certainly not enough. Besides, we can’t remain stuck behind Oklahoma in wind energy development and New Jersey in solar!”

Solar Spring Takes the West

While utilities pledged to take action, regulatory commissions in Western states moved to strike down net metering challenges as unfair, signaling their long-term support of the independent rooftop solar industry. Here in Colorado, caps on solar gardens will be removed as regulators reversed course, doing away with negative renewable energy credit pricing.

Southwestern states have retracted costly demand charges that have hindered solar installations in recognition of the benefits of deferred infrastructure investments and free fuel from the sun.

“When you take a hard look at the numbers, it’s clear that solar provides net benefits to both our climate and our ratepayers,” said one regulator. “With batteries and electric vehicles, a completely renewable electric grid is well within our reach.”

We are sorry to do this, but we must remind readers of the date stamp on this press release. Please stay tuned as we expect life to soon begin mimicking “art”!

Mar. 28, 6 pm: Colorado’s Coal Reliance — What’s Next?

Colorado’s Coal Reliance:
What’s Next?

Leslie Glustrom, Clean Energy Action
Zane Selvans, PhD

6:00 pm Event Begins
5:45 pm Light Refreshments
Boulder Main Public Library
Boulder Creek Room – Main Floor

This talk will provide an update on the US coal industry, discuss the geology of coal and the factors that have led to the rash of recent coal company bankruptcies and begin to explore the possible implications of these bankruptcies for the stability of the electrical grid in Colorado and around the country.

Leslie Glustrom has spoken around the country on coal cost and supply issues and authored several reports on these issues. Zane Selvans has been involved in coal issues for several years and most recently has played a leadership role in an effort to examine the financial options for coal plants that become stranded assets.

As background for the talk, you might like to review M. King Hubbert’s seminal paper on the rate at which fossil fuels can be extracted over time. This paper led to the idea of “peak oil” or – in this case – “peak coal.”

Also check out the infographic below to see how much Xcel ratepayers are spending on coal each year and how much Xcel’s coal plants contribute to carbon emissions: