Category Archives: CEA Petition

HELP US STAND UP FOR COLORADO RATEPAYERS!

​Dear Renewable Energy Advocates–We have an AMAZING opportunity to move clean energy forward in Colorado–but we need your help to “get it right.” ​​Please come to a training below and then to the PUC hearing on Feb 1, 2018. (Docket 16A-0396E “Stipulation” hearing) 

Here are the key dates so far: ​​

Monday January 22, 2018–6 pm,  ​Boulder ​Training

Meadows Public Library,
Boulder​, Colorado​
 (4800 Baseline, behind the Safeway)
Thursday January 25, 2018–6 pm, Denver Training
​Epic Brewing​
3001 Walnut St. Denver, CO 80205 Phone: 720-539-7410 ​
Monday January 29, 2018–​6 pm Lakewood/Jeffco Training
Belmar Library
555 S. Allison Parkway, Lakewood, Colorado
THEN ​HOPING EVERYONE WILL COME….​
Thursday Feb 1, 2018–4​-7​ pm
PUC Public Hearing 16A-0396E

Coal plant retirements, payment plans & replacement options1560 Broadway, #250,Denver 

The February 1, 2018 PUC hearing ​is a critical 
opportunity for the public to help shape the PUC’s response to the need to retire Xcel’s coal plants long before their expected retirement dates. 
This hearing will be about moving the retirement of ​the ​Comanche 1 and 2 ​coal plants in Pueblo ​up about 10 years ​into the ​
2020s. This is, of course, a step in the right direction, but we need your help to make the PUC understand the following:
  • ​Move Faster on Coal Retirements: ​ We are in a crisis on climate change. We can and must move faster by retiring these coal plants ​even ​earlier and working to retire ​the rest of Xcel’s coal fleet much ​sooner also.
  • ​Don’t Rush to Build More Natural Gas: ​Replacing coal plants with wind, solar, storage and demand side options makes good economic and environmental sense. This is not true for building new natural gas capacity which will likely just become stranded in its own time.
  • ​Don’t Make Xcel’s Customers Pay for All of Xcel’s Poorly Considered Expenditures on Coal: Xcel has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their old coal plants in ​Colorado in this century–including into Comanche 1 and 2. Now Xcel wants us to pay for all of this–and pay them their return​ (think “profit,” at their​ Weighted Average Cost of Capital or WACC) on the ill-considered ​coal plant ​expenditures they have made in recent years. This isn’t a just or equitable solution for ratepayers. If we are to set a ​fair and equitable ​precedent for how we dig ourselves out of the very deep ​hole ​we’ve dug on coal in Colorado, it will be up to the ​informed ​citizens who testify on February 1, 2018 at the PUC to get it done!
 
​Just come to a training and we’ll walk you through 
​the key parts and make sure your statement is on-point and powerful! ​In case you haven’t noticed, climate change impacts are already getting really serious. Please help us move Xcel further, faster on the clean energy path–and when we move Xcel, we move all of Colorado utilities and the entire US utility industry. 
But….We can’t do it without YOU!

Climate Coalitions State Intentions in Bonn and Make Demands in Denver

Last week international leaders met at COP23, the second “conference of the parties” since the signing of the Paris Agreement. They were meeting to discuss what global climate policy will look like both before and after 2020, when the Agreement officially goes into effect. President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this year that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Agreement set the tone of the discussions for the official US delegation. However, they were not the only Americans present in Bonn. An unofficial delegation of citizens traveled to the conference, also to represent the United States and to deliver a simple message to the rest of the world: we are still in.

Acitvists gather in Bonn ahead of COP23 summit

This second delegation delivered the America’s Pledge Phase 1 report, detailing the efforts of committed citizens to uphold the standards agreed to in Paris in 2015, in spite of the federal government’s  withdrawal. This comprehensive report discusses the success of the U.S. Climate Alliance (of which Colorado is a proud member and CEA is a proud supporter) and other coalitions that are dedicated to picking up the banner of climate action where the Trump administration has let it fall. This We Are Still In delegation, collectively representing more than half of America’s economy, detailed the steps they have taken to begin working from the bottom up to achieve the 2025 U.S. emissions outcomes asked for by the Paris Accords, and promised additional analysis in a Phase 2 report to be published in 2018.


As US climate leaders proudly declared their intentions in Bonn, a smaller group of local activists met in Denver to deliver a petition to Xcel Energy at their local headquarters, asking the utility to take the next step towards the post-fossil fuel world.  This group was led by 350 Colorado and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, which represents Clean Energy Action and 22 community, faith, and environmental organizations from around Colorado. Our requests included

  • the closure of all Xcel coal plants by 2030
  • the closure of all fracking gas plants by 2035
  • a commitment to convert to at least 80% renewable sources of electricity by 2030
  • completion of a study by the end of 2018 that explores how to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030
Micah Parkin delivers the petition to Xcel corporate HQ at 1800 Larimer Streeet

The CCLC represents more than 100,00 Coloradans, and this petition represents the work of countless climate warriors across the state who believe that now is the time for Xcel to end their lifelong reliance on coal and natural gas. “Xcel Energy has a great opportunity to move away from fossil fuels and provide customers with the affordable, clean energy they’re demanding,” said Kevin Cross, a member of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group and a leader of CCLC. As American leaders announce our renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement in Germany, there is no better time for our electric utility to step up its commitment to providing cleaner, cheaper energy for our state.


On the same day, separated by an ocean and thousands of miles, two coalitions delivered two statements to which Clean Energy Action was a party. In May, we asked our supporters to sign a petition to Governor Hickenlooper to sign Colorado onto the US Climate Alliance, and we see the effects of those signatures in Bonn where Colorado is one of nine states fully committed to the coalition. More recently we asked our supporters to affix their names to the CCLC’s petition to Xcel, and our voices were heard loud and clear in Denver last week demanding a greener, more efficient future. We thank the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, the We Are Still Coalition, and the US Climate Alliance, but most of all we thank all of you who provide the citizen power that carries us forward.

For further reading, check out the articles by Climate Action and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate.

Defend Rural Colorado’s Freedom to Access Clean Energy

Act Now: Help Protect Access to Local Clean Energy

Colorado is home to some of the nation’s best wind, solar and small hydro resources. Local communities should be free to access these renewable energy resources. When communities invest in local resources, they keep energy dollars close to home, create jobs, and reduce harmful carbon emissions.

Access to local clean energy is under threat: Tri-State Generation and Transmission  has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve a rate penalty that would essentially stop rural communities from buying clean, local electricity.

Let your voice be heard before March 11: Tell FERC to reaffirm communities’ right to access clean energy. For more details, see below the petition.

Tell the PUC to uphold Boulder's right to form a municipal utility

This petition is now closed.

End date: Nov 04, 2015

Signatures collected: 113

113 signatures

Proposed Penalty for Local Clean Power

In June of 2015, FERC affirmed the right of Delta-Montrose Electric Association (Delta-Montrose), a Western slope rural electric cooperative, to access local renewable energy from a small dam on an irrigation canal.

Federal  regulators ruled that local access to clean power superseded contractual restrictions imposed by Tri-State that would have otherwise barred Delta-Montrose and other communities from generating their own clean energy.

But access to local clean energy remains threatened: on February 17th, Delta-Montrose’s wholesale supplier, Tri-State asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve a rate penalty on utilities like Delta-Montrose when they buy energy from local renewable energy projects.

This rate penalty would effectively make local renewable energy projects uneconomical, denying communities vital economic development opportunities and derailing efforts to move away from fossil fuels. It appears to violate both the letter and the spirit of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which seeks to encourage local small-scale renewable energy generation.

Sign this petition and join us as we reaffirm the right of communities to access local sources of clean energy.

Resources

FERC’s 2015 Decision affirming Delta-Montrose’s ability to access clean energy under PURPA: Docket No. EL15-43-000

Clean Energy Action’s Letter of Support for Delta-Montrose in Tri-State’s February 17, 2016 Petition for Declaratory Order of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc., Docket No. EL16-39-000

Tell the PUC to Uphold Boulder’s Right to Municipalize

Act Now: Tell the PUC to Uphold Boulder’s Right to Municipalize

On November 4, 2015 the Colorado PUC is scheduled to hear Xcel’s Motion to Dismiss Boulder’s application for separation from the Xcel system. We hope you will express your support for the City of Boulder with a short message to the PUC and if you can, by attending the actual proceedings (business attire is best.)

Boulder has a clear Constitutional right to form a municipal utility, but of course Xcel would like to stifle that right in its effort to maintain its monopoly status and to continue to provide electricity that is dominated by coal and natural gas.

If you believe Boulder’s Constitutional right to municipalize should be respected (and/or think we can do better than 30% renewable energy!), then please send a quick note to the Colorado PUC.

Tell the PUC to uphold Boulder's right to form a municipal utility

This petition is now closed.

End date: Nov 04, 2015

Signatures collected: 113

113 signatures

Additional Actions

Attend the PUC Hearing at 11 am, November 4th at 1560 Broadway, Suite 250 Denver, CO 80202 or watch the webcast.

Read an informative op-ed on the legal background of the proceeding by retired attorney Phil Wardell.

Review Boulder’s municipalization PUC docket.

Losing at Monopoly: Big Money Will Go Up In Smoke On Stranded Coal Plants **PETITION**

Sign Here To Tell Colorado Decision Makers That Investing In Coal Now Is a NO-GO!

Xcel Energy plans to spend $400 million in upgrading two coal plants. As the US coal industry has taken an ominous nosedive, Colorado will face financial risk if these plants cannot be run. Renewables are cost-competitive with coal and natural gas and we know coal plants don’t balance well with renewables on the grid. In addition, coal plants need millions of gallons of water for cooling and climate change will not wait. It’s unconscionable.

[emailpetition id=”3″]

LIKE OUR WORK?  SUPPORT US HERE

 

For more background, see this searing review in the Denver Post by Leslie Glustrom, CEA’s co-founder:

Will coal investments become stranded assets?

A machine that no rational person wants to build is one that generates stranded assets — assets that become non-functional long before they have been paid for.

Unfortunately, customers of Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel, are bound to just such a “stranded asset machine,” given the poor decisions that the Public Utilities Commission is allowing Xcel to make.

Since the turn of this century, Xcel has spent about $1 billion on the Comanche 3 coal plant in Pueblo to serve the Denver-Boulder area, and now the Public Utilities Commission is turning a blind eye, yet again, while Xcel spends hundreds of millions of dollars on old Colorado coal plants in 2014 and 2015.

Under the current system, Xcel fully expects its customers to not only pay for these coal plant expenditures, but to also provide Xcel a return of between 7 percent and 8 percent on the money. In addition, Xcel will pass 100 percent of future coal costs through to customers under the Electric Commodity Adjustment mechanism.

This risk-free way of generating profit is good business as long as you can get the PUC to agree to it — which the PUC routinely does.

The financial world is abuzz with discussions of “unburnable carbon” and the need to avoid investments in fossil fuel assets that are likely to become stranded given the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.

None of this is being discussed as the Colorado PUC stands ready to approve hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures on old Colorado coal plants as part of the ongoing Xcel rate case.

The PUC seems to have an unspoken rule that when you walk through the doors of the commission, all discussion and concerns about the planet and unburnable carbon will be left at the door.

In the 21st century, that is not only unconscionable, it is also leading Colorado into a very risky economic situation.

Even if there were no concerns about climate change, ocean acidification, boiling off Colorado’s precious water supplies to produce electricity, or the copious amounts of air, water and coal ash pollution created by coal plants, it still would be a bad idea to allow large investments in coal plants in the 21st century.

First of all, as the costs for wind and solar plummet and storage technologies evolve rapidly, the opportunity to move beyond coal for purely financial reasons becomes ever more viable.

Second, resources built in this century should be extremely flexible in their operation to match the variable nature of the wind and solar that Colorado is so blessed with. Flexible is precisely what baseload coal plants are not — and we shouldn’t be investing in them.

Finally, coal plants need a supply of coal to operate and the truth about coal is that most of the U.S. coal that can be mined at a profit is gone. The U.S. coal industry is running seriously in the red, stock prices have cratered, the largest companies are facing billions of dollars of debt and Wall Street has largely left the U.S. coal industry for dead. (For more depth, see here, and here, and here and here.)

Consequently, it is completely unclear who will be mining U.S. coal in the coming years and decades — what’s less for the five more decades that Xcel’s Comanche 3 coal plant is scheduled to operate.

Spending money on coal plants in light of these harsh realities is the height of economic (to say nothing of planetary) folly — but that is exactly what the Colorado PUC is letting Colorado’s largest utility do.

While the PUC is firmly keeping its eyes covered and its ears plugged to the realities of the 21st century, it is long past time that the state’s economic and political leaders took a hard look at the facts that the PUC is ignoring and put an end to Colorado’s stranded asset machine.