Category Archives: Boulder

An Evening With Boulder’s City Attorney, Tom Carr: Thursday, August 18th, at 6:30pm

Boulder City Attorney, Tom Carr, has supervised the many steps in the process of clarifying and determining Boulder’s Clean Energy Future. On Thursday, August 18th, at 6:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder (1820 15th St. Boulder, CO 80302), he will share his personal perspectives on the historical nature of the upcoming municipalization ballot measure, as well as the important contents of the ballot language.

Tom Carr is the City Attorney and primary legal advisor to the City Council and City Manager. He manages the City Attorney’s Office staff and outside counsel arrangements and is responsible for prosecuting violations of city ordinances.
Tom provides the city with a broad range of legal services including litigation, contract and ordinance drafting, transactional work and administrative hearings. Presently his focus is on environmental, social, and regional growth issues.
From 2002 through 2009, Tom was the city attorney in Seattle, Washington, where he gained extensive experience dealing with issues similar to those faced byBoulder.  Serving as the general counsel and chief prosecutor for the 12th largest city in the United States, Tom managed a 90 attorney law office and provided legal advice and guidance to elected officials and city departments.  He brought a collaborative problem-solving approach to the task of addressing public safety and community issues by building partnerships with courts, other prosecutors, social service providers and community leaders.
Prior to serving as Seattle City Attorney, Tom was a partner is a Seattle law firm specializing in commercial litigation.  From 1986 through 1990, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, specializing in organized crime civil RICO cases.
Tom earned a sociology degree from St. John’s University and his law degree fromNew York Law School, where he served as Research and Articles editor on the Law Review, on the Moot Court Board and as part of the National Moot Court team.

Boulder’s Clean Energy Vision

Posted by Amy Guinan

At a recent Clean Energy Action community event, Boulder citizens were asked what they hoped for their energy future. Clean Energy Action is using these community clean energy visions  to help drive our organizational work at a local and state level – we hope you enjoy these visionary ideas.

Recommendations include:

  • Accelerate the closure of the Valmont Coal Plant
  • Increased Solar Thermal heating and cooling available for residential and commercial establishments
  • Solar Gardens accessible to all who need them
  • A functional smart grid with accessible data at the residential level
  • Help educate additional states on coal supply constraints
  • Financial tools that entice large investments in clean energy
  • More citizen outreach to neighbor and friends’ about clean energy and coal supply constraints
  • No gas tax for electric vehicles
  • Support Jamestown municipalization efforts
  • Work towards carbon negativity with efforts such as biochar
  • Increase local Photovoltaics on rooftops and public buildings
  • Emphasize Demand Side Management of electricity
  • Make Feed In Tariffs available to drive clean energy development in Colorado
  • Form a local Boulder-owned credit union
Photo courtesy of dgrinbergs

Smart Grid City-PUC Decision Withholds $16 Million from Xcel

Submitted by Leslie Glustrom

On February 8, 2011, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission published Decision C11-0139 withholding $16 million from Xcel until the utility is able to demonstrate a “coherent and valuable future” for the Smart Grid City (“SCG”) project in Boulder, Colorado.

Decision C11-0139 is attached below.

In particular, the PUC asked Xcel to demonstrate:

  • A strategic plan for the use of the Smart Grid City investment
  • A credible promise of consumer and utility benefits sufficient to justify the cost overruns
  • The ability of customers to make practical use of the Smart Grid City on their side of the meter through in-home devices.
  • (See paragraph 19, page 6 Decision C11-0139, Colorado PUC)

The Commission summarized its position on the Smart Grid City project saying:

In summary, this Commission believes that the Company needs to re-boot the SGC project and restore some of the promise this concept originally held. (Paragraph 23, page 7, Decision C11-0139, Colorado PUC).

Xcel has 20 days to contest the decision through the PUC appeal process.

Attachment Size
Decision No. C11-0139 Docket No. 10A-124E Order on Exceptions 184 KB

Xcel’s Ballooning SmartGrid Costs Get Partly Deflated at the PUC

Submitted by amyguinan

When implementation of Boulder’s SmartGrid City began in 2008, it was one of the first and most comprehensive experiments in the nation with smart-grid technology, which uses computers to manage electricity distribution and allows for communication between utilites and consumers.  At the time, the total cost for SmartGrid implementation was estimated at $100 million and Xcel’s share at $15.3 million. The remainder would be paid by companies partnering in the pilot.

By last year, however, Xcel’s share had ballooned to $44.5 million.

In an unexpected move in January, The Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission ruled Xcel could include only two-thirds of the $44.5 million cost of the smart-grid test in its rate base. The remaining $16.6 million will be off limits until Xcel can show the Boulder-based project’s benefits to Colorado ratepayers, the commission said.

“I’m struggling with how quickly those costs have escalated,” said PUC commissioner James Tarpey. Tarpey noted in testimony that an Xcel official had said that if there had been a cap on expenses, the utility would not have conducted the pilot. The message, Tarpey said, was: “Yeah, we really want to do it, but not with our money.”

For more information, see Mark Jaffe’s Denver Post article, here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_17021599

Limits on what Xcel can charge customers for Boulder Smart Grid

Submitted by Lili Francklyn on November 10, 2010 – 6:34pm

Under the settlement Xcel would be entitled to full cost recovery from 1.4 million ratepayers across Colorado – not exceeding $44.5 million.

The utility’s SmartGridCity, originally estimated at roughly $15 million – and not to be incurred by Boulder ratepayers – has seen costs rise to more than $44.5 million since its 2007 inception.

If no protests are lodged within 20 days, the PUC will adopt the recommendation and pass the cost of Xcel’s SmartGridCity onto ratepayers.  Email the PUC with protests or complaints;
pucconsumer.complaints@dora.state.co.us