Category Archives: Boulder

Municipalization of Boulder’s Electricity Headed to November Ballot

Boulder City Council has unanimously approved to put municipalization, the process by which Boulder would assume control of its electrical generation from Xcel Energy, on the upcoming November ballot (ballot measures 2B and 2C). Municipalization is being considered for Boulder at this time because voters have expressed a desire for local control over their electricity and the delivery of competitive rates, reliable service and an increased mix of renewables.

Two ballot measures related to municipalization, 2B and 2C, will be on the November ballot.

– 2B would raise the existing occupation tax (which Boulder voters approved last year to replace lost revenue from the expiration of the Xcel franchise) to help pay for legal and financial fees related to municipalization. If approved, 2B would increase most residential electrical bills by less than $1/month.

– 2C grants general permission to start a utility and for the authority to sell bonds to purchase Xcel’s distribution system within Boulder – and only if rates at the time of acquisition would not “exceed those rates” charged by Xcel.

As a 501c3, Clean Energy Action is choosing not to take a position on the municiplization topic, but to instead maintain our role as an educational organization. There are a number of local organizations, however, that have taken formal positions.

Organizations that support 2B and 2C:
Renewables Yes
Boulder Smarter Energy Coalition: A New Era Issue Committee

Organizations that oppose:
Boulder Smart Energy Coalition Xcel Energy

Boulder’s Power Supply: Is there an Optimal Mix for Boulder?

Wiley Barbour, Vice President, Camco North America, Alden Hathaway, Senior Vice President, Sterling Planet & Ben Vitale, Executive Director, The Climate Trust

Presentation Synopsis

Energy and climate professionals, Wiley Barbour, Ben Vitale and Alden Hathaway will discuss the different options available for the City of Boulder to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

These options include:
(1) Directly generating electricity with renewable forms of generation and retaining all environmental attributes (Renewable Energy Credits, REC’s) associated with each MWh of electricity production;
(2) Directly purchasing electricity produced with renewable forms of generation along with the RECs associated with each MWh of electricity production;

(3) Continuing to purchase electricity generated mostly from fossil fuels, but purchasing RECs associated with renewable forms of generation to offset all or some of the MWhs of electricity produced by fossil fuel generation; and

(4) Continuing to purchase energy (which may include electricity, natural gas, or transport fuels) generated mostly or entirely with fossil fuels, but purchasing GHG/carbon credits which result in the verified reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at a specified source of emissions.

The intention of the presentation is to provide a contextual framework within which Boulder residents may evaluate a long-term GHG–offset or REC purchase proposal, such as the Xcel Energy proposal, and especially to consider the appropriate mix of these four various options for Boulder’s energy future.

Speaker Bio’s

Wiley Barbouris the Vice President for Corporate Development for Camco, a global emissions reduction and project development company. As an expert in environmental markets he has spent the last 20 years of his career providing technical, and policy support to governments, corporations, and nonprofit clients on issues related to air pollution, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, corporate climate change strategy, and environmental markets.

Prior to joining Camco, Wiley served for 6 years as the Executive Director of Environmental Resources Trust (ERT), a national nonprofit environmental organization focused on harnessing the power of markets to protect the environment. At ERT, Wiley supported transactions of millions of tons of verified emission reductions while managing the world’s first on-line GHG registry. After successfully leading ERT into a merger with Winrock International, Wiley founded the American Carbon Registry which continues to support early action to reduce GHG emissions. From 1995 to 2001, Wiley served as a senior policy analyst in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Policy Office where he coordinated the U.S. Government’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Program and participated in the international negotiations on climate change. In addition, Wiley contributed to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Ben Vitale is a carbon market expert with over 20 years of executive experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He is the first President of The Climate Trust, succeeding the founding Executive Director in December 2009. Before joining The Climate Trust, Ben served as Managing Director of the Conservation and Community Carbon Fund at Conservation International (CI), where he worked with the private sector to develop climate change solutions and new financial instruments that create business value and achieve measurable climate change results. He supported the development of conservation carbon projects in Biodiversity Hotspots around the world including Ecuador, China, and Brazil. He also advised governments and partners on climate change in countries such as Guyana, Liberia, Madagascar, and Suriname.  Ben has served as an adviser for Ecosystem Marketplace, the Chicago Climate Exchange, and Patagonia Sur and also has been a contributor to the books A Climate for LifeClimate Change & Forests, and Voluntary Carbon Markets.

Alden Hathaway manages Sterling Planet’s new customer accounts in the non-residential sector.  Sterling Planet offers comprehensive carbon neutral solutions for businesses, universities and organizations, bringing together supply and demand side solutions in a rapidly emerging environmental market. Mr. Hathaway has extensive experience in clean energy policy, market development and application of leading-edge technology. As Director of EcoPower Programs for the Environmental Resources Trust (ERT), Mr. Hathaway coordinated renewable energy certification, as well as energy and environmental consulting services for national accounts, utilities and government agencies. He also provided input for development of EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program.  Along with his wife Carol, Mr. Hathaway manages a 10-year-old nonprofit organization, Solar Light for Africa, that installs solar power in rural villages across sub-Saharan Africa, bringing light, power and solar-pumped water to some of the poorest regions of the world.

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