Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan “Stipulation” – Another Xcel “Deal” That is Not a Deal At All

In late August 2017, Xcel-Colorado (Public Service Company of Colorado or “PSCo”) submitted a plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) which it named the Colorado Energy Plan or “CEP.”  The Colorado Energy Plan was submitted to the PUC as a “Stipulation” in Docket 16A-0396E and the CEP is sometimes referred to as “The Stipulation.”  While Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan includes moving up the retirement date for two coal plants—Comanche 1 and 2 in Pueblo, Colorado—the Plan also contains a number of adverse provisions including:

  • Reducing Xcel’s Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment which is supposed to be used to support renewable energy additions and using the “head room” created by that reduction to pay off the undepreciated portion of Comanche 1 and 2.
  • Paying Xcel their full level of profit (known as “return at the WACC” or Weighted Average Cost of Capital of about 7 %) on the now stranded coal plants.
  • Establishing ownership targets for Xcel ownership of replacement generation, potentially reducing the competitive nature of Colorado’s energy market.
  • Including natural gas in the replacement generation and potentially constraining the analysis of the over 50,000 MW of very cost-effective wind, solar and storage bids that Xcel received in November 2018.  The CEP would consider adding about 2000 MW of wind and solar to Xcel’s Colorado system, leaving over 90% of the wind, solar and storage bids “on the table.”

Clean Energy Action Board member Leslie Glustrom submitted extensive comments on the “Stipulation” and a final statement.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Best

In addition, Clean Energy Action hosted several trainings on the CEP/Stipulation in late January 2018 and numerous citizens that attended the trainings testified at the Colorado PUC on February 1, 2018 in Docket 16A-0396E.  Many citizens pointed out that Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan “deal” was not as good a “deal” as Xcel wanted the Commission to believe it was.

On Wednesday March 14, 2018 the Colorado PUC allowed Xcel to bring forth a plan that retires Comanche 1 and 2 early, but did not accept many other parts of the Colorado Energy Plan “Stipulation.”  The decision is here.

Unfortunately the Colorado PUC did not specify that Xcel should develop a plan that no longer uses “must-run” requirements for Xcel’s Colorado coal plants, but it did require a “least-cost” modeling run which should begin to show the vast potential for lowering utility costs by incorporating low-cost wind, solar and storage onto Xcel’s Colorado system.  Importantly, the sensitivity runs with lower discount rates should show even greater savings from adding wind, solar and storage resources.  The modeling report is expected in late April 2018.

The mission of Clean Energy Action is to “accelerate the transition to the post-fossil fuel world,” and we are strong supporters of retiring coal and natural gas plants, but we will also advocate for a “just transition” that does not unduly burden utility ratepayers. The Colorado Energy Plan, while containing some admirable proposals, transfers too much accountability for stranded fossil fuel assets from Xcel to its customers.

Senator Stephen Fenberg on Local Power vs. Corporate Power

In an interview last month with John Farrell at the Institute for Local Self Reliance, Colorado Senator Stephen Fenberg voiced his opinions on the importance of local power in terms of demanding energy from cleaner sources.  He spoke about the long standing debate of switching to more clean energy sources in an economically feasible manner. He states that technology will allow cheap clean energy, but the barrier that is holding back this transfer from coal power to renewables is orchestrated politically and legally by the utilities.steve His argument is not inherently against investor-owned utilities, it is about the role our utilities play in maintaining and promoting the regulatory barriers that exist today and prevent us from pursuing renewable energy to its fullest extent. Fenberg enforces the idea that  “utilities do have an immense amount of power and authority and financial resources behind them”, which makes it difficult for communities to hold a threat to utilities.

What’s really exciting now though, is that technologies are available and are cheap enough to move us to a clean energy future. At this point it’s about giving communities the opportunity and power to control their energy future. Senator Fenberg describes how “there shouldn’t be these regulatory barriers to keeping individuals, as well as communities, from being able to use these technologies and new opportunities to have more control over their energy future.”

It is now regulation, not technology, that stands between Boulder and its objectives. That is why municipalization is necessary for Boulder to meet its renewable energy goals. The process is not quick or simple, but because of the challenges Fenberg discusses, Boulder needs to take control of its energy future before the City can pursue the many exciting options and technologies that will take Boulder to its renewable energy future.

Check out the full interview here for more information about Senator Fenberg’s thoughts on local power.

Watch Tony Seba’s Address After Receiving Clean Energy Action’s 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award!

Clean Energy Action was founded more than a decade ago on the principle that education and empowering community action is the key to accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy and resilient economy. While technological and important regulatory challenges persist, the true challenge comes in mobilizing the knowledge we have at our disposal and implementing it throughout our communities and our marketplaces.

Clean Energy Action has traditionally recognized our amazing supporters and advocates for all they personally do for people and planet. Our 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award acknowledges these individuals who have made significant contributions in the dissemination of new ideas, technologies and concepts and who, like the sun, take the light and heat of human ingenuity and help it to find its way out of academic journals and laboratories and into the mainstream of our culture and economy.

We at CEA could think of no one more deserving of this honor than Mr. Tony Seba. As the author of several books, including Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation and Solar Trillions, as an educator at Stanford University, and as a leader in business and technology, Tony Seba exemplifies the qualities we seek to recognize with this award. Mr. Seba’s work has aided the cause of sustainability immeasurably, both by shedding light on the progress that has been made and by helping to illuminate the way forward, and it is in recognition of this work that we are honored to name or friend and sustainability champion the recipient of the 2017 Clean Energy Action Sunshine Award.

Thanks to Martin Voelker with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, you can watch Tony Seba’s keynote address here.

Congratulations and our deepest gratitude to Tony Seba for traveling to Boulder to receive CEA’s 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award and  for his inspiring work.

CEA’s Soirée was only the beginning of Tony’s trip– He also led a Transportation Strategy Session on Friday June 9, with over 30 regional government & transportation representatives hosted by CEA and the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado.

Abundant thanks to everyone who contributed to the event! This opportunity would not have been possible without the work and generosity of our host committee, the CU Museum of Natural History, Hunter Lovins, the CU Environmental Center, and everyone who showed up to support CEA.

Support Our Work for a Better Energy Future!

Watch Tony Seba’s Address After Receiving Clean Energy Action’s 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award!

 

Clean Energy Action was founded more than a decade ago on the principle that education and empowering community action is the key to accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy and resilient economy. While technological and important regulatory challenges persist, the true challenge comes in mobilizing the knowledge we have at our disposal and implementing it throughout our communities and our marketplaces.

Clean Energy Action has traditionally recognized our amazing supporters and advocates for all they personally do for people and planet. Our 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award acknowledges these individuals who have made significant contributions in the dissemination of new ideas, technologies and concepts and who, like the sun, take the light and heat of human ingenuity and help it to find its way out of academic journals and laboratories and into the mainstream of our culture and economy.

We at CEA could think of no one more deserving of this honor than Mr. Tony Seba. As the author of several books, including Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation and Solar Trillions, as an educator at Stanford University, and as a leader in business and technology, Tony Seba exemplifies the qualities we seek to recognize with this award. Mr. Seba’s work has aided the cause of sustainability immeasurably, both by shedding light on the progress that has been made and by helping to illuminate the way forward, and it is in recognition of this work that we are honored to name or friend and sustainability champion the recipient of the 2017 Clean Energy Action Sunshine Award.

Thanks to Martin Voelker and the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, you can watch Tony Seba’s keynote address here.

Congratulations and our deepest gratitude to Tony Seba for traveling to Boulder to receive CEA’s 10th Anniversary Sunshine Award and  for his inspiring work.

CEA’s Soirée was only the beginning of Tony’s trip– He also led a Transportation Strategy Session on Friday June 9, with over 30 regional government & transportation representatives hosted by CEA and the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado.

Abundant thanks to everyone who contributed to the event! This opportunity would not have been possible without the work and generosity of our host committee, the CU Museum of Natural History, Hunter Lovins, the CU Environmental Center, and everyone who showed up to support CEA.

Support Our Work for a Better Energy Future!

Get Tickets: Tony Seba at CU!

Get Tickets Now! Thursday June 8th:
Please join Clean Energy Action and the CU Environmental Center in welcoming 

Author, entrepreneur, Stanford educator,  international thought leader on disruptive change in energy systems, and recipient of the Clean Energy Action 2017 Sunshine Award:

“The clean disruption will flip the architecture of energy and bring abundant, cheap and participatory energy. Just like those previous technology disruptions, the clean disruption is inevitable and it will be swift.”
The evening will be in two parts, with Mr. Seba’s presentation preceded by a soiree.
6/8/17 5:30-7:30:   Soiree at the CU Natural History Museum,
                                            located in the Henderson Building
6/8/17 8:00-9:30:   Keynote Address by Mr. Seba  in the Glenn
                                            Miller Ballroom, located in the UMC
Eventbrite - Clean Energy Action 10th Anniversary Celebration and Award Ceremony
Please email us with any questions or to obtain more information  For location specifics, see the University of Colorado Campus Map
We look for to seeing you then!