Category Archives: CEA Petition

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.

Defend Freedom to Access Local Clean Energy

  

The Honorable Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Ms. Bose,

We, the undersigned, urge the Commission to find that Tri-State’s proposed lost revenue penalty proposal contained in Tri-State’s revised Board Policy 101 is inconsistent with the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) and the Commission’s implementing regulations.

Rate penalties placed on purchases of power from local qualifying facilities appear to run counter to the spirit and the letter of PURPA. PURPA Section 210 states an intention to “encourage cogeneration and small power production” through rate setting that is “just and reasonable to the electric consumers of the electric utility and in the public interest.”

As we consider the public interest in mitigating climate change and in promoting local economic development, we ask that the Commission deny approval of Tri-State's lost revenue penalty. Tri-State's proposal penalizes utilities like Delta-Montrose for buying local renewable energy that the Commission has said Delta Montrose is obligated to purchase. Approving the rate penalty would essentially undo the Commission's previous decision and hinder, rather than promote, local renewable energy development.

For these reasons, we urge you to reject Tri-State's proposed lost revenue penalty.

Sincerely,

[your signature]

87 signatures

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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.

Defend Freedom to Access Local Clean Energy

  

The Honorable Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Ms. Bose,

We, the undersigned, urge the Commission to find that Tri-State’s proposed lost revenue penalty proposal contained in Tri-State’s revised Board Policy 101 is inconsistent with the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) and the Commission’s implementing regulations.

Rate penalties placed on purchases of power from local qualifying facilities appear to run counter to the spirit and the letter of PURPA. PURPA Section 210 states an intention to “encourage cogeneration and small power production” through rate setting that is “just and reasonable to the electric consumers of the electric utility and in the public interest.”

As we consider the public interest in mitigating climate change and in promoting local economic development, we ask that the Commission deny approval of Tri-State's lost revenue penalty. Tri-State's proposal penalizes utilities like Delta-Montrose for buying local renewable energy that the Commission has said Delta Montrose is obligated to purchase. Approving the rate penalty would essentially undo the Commission's previous decision and hinder, rather than promote, local renewable energy development.

For these reasons, we urge you to reject Tri-State's proposed lost revenue penalty.

Sincerely,

[your signature]

87 signatures

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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″]

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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.

Stop the Attack on Clean Energy in Colorado

The Colorado Senate is trying to kill our renewable energy standard (RES)!  Instead of 30% by 2020, they want to knock it down to 15%.  This is absurd: Xcel already gets 19% of their electricity from wind alone, and it’s cheaper than any fossil fueled power!

Sign the petition below to send an email Senate Agriculture, Natural Resource and Energy Committee members telling them we have to move forward on clean energy and climate, not back!

Tell Congress to Extend Tax Credits for Solar and Wind

  

The Solar Investment Tax Credit and the Wind Production Tax Credit have helped to lead to unprecedented job growth and investment in the clean power needed to mitigate climate change. The market signal provided by these tax credits has spurred investment in both the scale and efficiency of wind and solar technologies, helping to consistently drive down costs.

As the nation's economy struggles ahead with its slow recovery and as the planet faces the existential threat of climate change, now is certainly not the time to take the costly, disruptive and irresponsible step of letting these credits lapse. I urge you to pass a long-term extension of both the wind and solar tax credits, giving our wind and solar industries the certainty they need for continued growth. The extensions will continue to strengthen our nation's economy while bringing more clean power online to mitigate climate change's grave impacts.

Please work with your colleagues to pass extensions to the tax credits for both wind and solar.

[your signature]

15 signatures

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Come & Testify at the Committee Hearing for SB 15-044

Thursday, January 29th, 1:30 pm
Senate Committee Room 354 or 353
200 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 80203

Learn More About SB 44

Early this January, legislators wasted no time introducing bills related to Colorado’s energy policies. Rather than immediately address local versus statewide standards for fracking, two of the first bills introduced would modify Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES).

Currently, investor owned utilities (i.e. Xcel and Black Hills) have to have 20% renewables by 2015 and 30% by 2020 on their system. Senate Bill 44 would reduce their requirement to 15% by 2015 with no additional goal for 2030. This seems bizarre, especially given that wind provides 19% of Xcel’s electricity in Colorado. So they want them to go backwards and stay there.

PSCo2013EnergyMix

For more information on SB 44, see The Nation Law Review.