Tag Archives: climate

CRES CLIMATE COURAGE AWARDS 10/17

The 2019 CRES Courage Awards will be an evening of celebration as the Colorado Renewable Energy Society recognizes five state legislators and four organizations for their actions to combat the adverse effects of climate change on Colorado’s economy, air quality and public health, ecosystems, natural resources, and quality of life.

We invite you to attend on the evening of October 17th at the Alliance Center (1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver, 80202) to help honor and recognize these award recipients.

The event will begin at 6:30pm with catered appetizers, followed by the award ceremony at 7:00pm, and the evening concluding at approximately 9pm. It will be inspiring and informative evening!

Ticket pricing is as follows:
– $25 for members and active students
– $45 for non-members

Please click here to RSVP and purchase a ticket. 

Community Choice Aggregation: A Legislative Path to Energy Freedom

Community Choice Aggregation is an energy freedom program that permits a community to directly access the competitive market to procure power from the energy supplier they choose. This is in contrast to much of Colorado’s current situation in which a monopoly utility (in Boulder this is Xcel) is granted exclusive rights as a region’s energy supplier by the state. The benefits of a free energy market are many; competitive markets can lead to lower rates, the ability to choose sustainably generated power, and the ability to invest in local solutions which create jobs and keeps money in the local economy. CEA endorses policies for energy freedom, and fortunately, local legislators and non-profits like Energy Freedom Colorado are working to make a path to energy freedom for Colorado.

To give you a better understanding of how it works, let’s begin with the power grid. The three main components of a power grid are energy generation, transmission (of electricity over long distances from power plants to local substations), and distribution (of electricity from a substation to the consumer). Community choice aggregation (CCA) is a cooperation between municipal utilities and investor-owned utilities (IOU) in which the municipal CCA purchases power independently, but the transmission, distribution, and customer interface are maintained by the local IOU as shown below. CCAs served about 3.3 million people in 2016 and are growing rapidly in the eight states where they have been legalized, allowing municipalities in these states to choose their power sources in a way that reflects the values of their community, which include factors like cost, environmental impact, and supporting local energy businesses.

Graphic from National Renewable Energy Labs website

To implement CCA in Colorado, our legislature would need to enact CCA legislation, and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) would need to adopt corresponding rules and regulations. Several structural aspects of Colorado’s electricity grid could make this process more complicated than it has been for other states. For example, most states with CCA had already restructured their IOU to make separate companies for power generation and delivery, which simplifies the process of transitioning to municipally controlled power generation. Further, Colorado is not part of a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), which is an independent, non-profit operator of a large, integrated transmission grid. Instead, each region’s transmission lines are controlled by the local utility, which complicates the task of transporting power from the generation site across a number of independently owned transmission systems to the municipality. Despite the challenges, we can overcome these obstacles and make the change. If you would like to learn more or help move Colorado forward, here are some links for you:

For general background information:
NREL: https://www.nrel.gov/state-local-tribal/blog/posts/community-choice-aggregation-cca-helping-communities-reach-renewable-energy-goals.html
LEAN: http://leanenergyus.org/cca-by-state/
EPA: https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/community-choice-aggregation

For Colorado specific information and/or to get involved in Colorado’s policy efforts:
EFC: http://energyfreedomco.org/

What We Are Watching: Atmospheric Trust Doctrine in the 9th Circuit

Three judges in the 9th Circuit are poised to rule on the leading question in environmental litigation: the legal right to a livable climate. 

Unlike the early decades of U.S. climate action, which focused on legislation and federal agencies, environmental advocates in recent years have increasingly had to rely on states and the courts to demand progress. The 2005 court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA recognized that sea level rise injures coastal states and required the EPA to regulate greenhouse gasses as pollutants. More recently, cities like New York and Boulder filed suit against Exxon Mobil for their role in the climate crisis. In 2015, youth petitioners brought what may become the flagship climate case of our time against the President and government of the United States. Juliana v. United States alleges that government inaction is denying young people their right to an inhabitable planet. Juliana relies on a long history of public trust doctrine that requires the state to responsibly manage resources held in trust for the public, and advances a new field of “atmospheric trust” litigation. Colorado-based youth climate organization and CEA ally Earth Guardians is a lead plaintiff in the case. 

Thus far, the government has filed numerous procedural challenges seeking to have the District Court throw out the case, or for higher courts to intervene. The case has cleared most of these procedural roadblocks, and the higher courts, although expressing some skepticism about its overall viability, have allowed the case to proceed. 

Most recently, the government filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit to review the plaintiffs’ standing to bring a case. The question of standing often determines the fate of environmental litigation. For example, one of the key hurdles states cleared in Massachusetts v. EPA  was the lack of direct injury due to the small amount of state-owned land that would be affected (the Supreme Court ultimately found that climate change represented a sufficient threat to state sovereignty to give them a claim to injury). In this case, the question of standing challenges the core of atmospheric trust doctrine as the basis for a legal claim. Oral arguments were heard on June 4th

Now the nation and the world waits to see whether the 9th Circuit will allow the case to proceed to trial by affirming Judge Aiken’s conclusion that the youth of this country have a cognizable legal right to a climate capable of sustaining human life.

Further reading: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2954661

People’s Climate March on Denver: Get Involved Today

Tell our elected officials that the environment matters! April 29th, 2017 is the 100th day of President Donald Trump’s administration.  Clean Energy Action is marking the day by joining with the People’s Climate of Colorado and countless other groups in a huge demonstration to highlight our recognition that climate change is real, that it impacts all of us, and that we are committed to solving it.

The PCM in Denver, along with other sister city marches, is happening simultaneously to the People’s Climate March in Washington. Like the Women’s March, the PCM will be a national show of resistance, resolve, and unity.

There are many ways to show your support for our planet:

  • Planning to attend? RSVP on Facebook, sign up on Action Network,  and tell your friends and family.
  • Want to get more involved? Take this survey in order to register to be trained as an PCM Marshal, or check out these planning meetings in Denver and Boulder, and help us make sure the event is a great success!
  • The Climate March also needs financial support. Make a donation or purchase one of these awesome T-shirts, and put your dollars to work in defense of our environment.
  • You can also be a #climatehero and help spread the word on Facebook and twitter:  #peoplesclimatemarch #denverclimatemarch

Hope to see you there!

CEA Releases Annual Report, Celebrates a Decade of Speaking Truth to Power

The end of 2015 represents an important milestone for Clean Energy Action. Founded in 2005 to oppose the construction of Colorado’s last coal-fired power plant, Comanche 3, we are proud of the organization that has evolved over a decade of powerful action and catalytic research on behalf of our climate.

As we celebrate a decade of speaking truth to power, this report focuses on CEA’s most significant achievements with an emphasis on the last two years.

View the Report Now

Even as we pause to reflect on these accomplishments, we cannot ignore the growing urgency of the climate crisis nor can we forget the widespread damage our changing climate has already inflicted.

While we have been able to accomplish a great deal with very little thus far, even greater change is needed. We need to continue to grow our revenue and expand our appeal in order to hire new staff, deepen our research and multiply our impact. We look to you for continued and generous support – together we can accelerate the pace of change in this next, most pivotal decade.

View the Report Here