In 2010, Boulder’s franchise agreement with Xcel Energy expired and the city decided to look into alternative energy options rather than immediately renew the contract. Clean Energy Action led the community to pass an occupation tax which replaced the franchise fee and provided funds to begin exploring less carbon intense options for electricity supply.
The Boulder community had been, and remains, vocal about lower carbon energy with rates and reliability comparable to those provided by Xcel Energy. The community also seeks local control and a voice in decision-making process about the generation sources for the energy provided to Boulder. Creating a municipal utility presents an opportunity to enhance the economic vitality of the city by providing a testbed for emerging technology and a low-cost, high-reliability environment in which local businesses can thrive. With this background, Boulder citizens passed ballot initiatives 2B and 2C in November of 2011 to authorize the city to investigate the opportunities of municipalization.
Through these campaigns, Clean Energy Action and the groups that it has helped to form (RenewablesYes, EmpowerOurFuture, etc.) have worked with limited funds to achieve positive results. Our educational project around a municipal utility will continue engagement and development of grassroots activists, constituencies, elected officials, community leaders, and others. Clean Energy Action educates and inspires “Citizen Power” and through our educational efforts, more people will be exposed to the benefits of transitioning from a corporate electric utility to a more nimble utility service, able to decarbonize the energy supply at a faster rate. By succeeding in our educational campaigns, the following will become possible:
- A larger proportion of Boulder citizens’ energy will be produced from renewable resources.
- More transparency and overall control of energy production and distribution to the ratepayers.
- A decrease in the price of energy for Boulder citizens, while still maintaining reliability.
- Profits that were originally made by the utility company will be re-invested into the Boulder community, and the allocation of such funds will be voted upon by Boulder citizens.