Tag Archives: Colorado

The Clean Energy Conversation Is “Big At The Capitol,” And At Home In Boulder, Colorado.

On the morning of Saturday, January 25th, nearly 100 Boulder residents gathered at the West Boulder Senior Center to hear political leaders update the Boulder community about ongoing efforts to address climate change at the city, county and state level in Colorado. The Mayor’s Community Conversation on Climate and Local Clean Energy was a hopeful yet serious event where residents and public officials reviewed climate policy progress and assessed pathways towards a low-carbon future. One theme throughout the day was clear: Colorado’s leaders deserve credit for the tremendous work they are doing to tackle climate change. 

Mayor Sam Weaver facilitated the event which featured presentations by high-profile leaders that have moved the needle on climate change in Colorado.  The speakers included two City Council members, one state Senator, two state Representatives, the Boulder County Commissioner, and an editor from HOMER Microgrid News. 


Local leaders pose for a picture Junie Joseph, Steve Fenberg, Sam Weaver, KC Becker, Mary Young, and Edie Hooton.

The Mayor’s Address

The mini-conference began with a warm welcome from Mayor Weaver followed by a discussion of the most impactful climate solutions, published by Project Drawdown.  The Mayor joked about being known as the “refrigerant guy” due to his personal interest in tackling refrigerant management issues. He cited Boulder’s current integration of 60% local renewable energy, which will increase dramatically if the city proceeds with municipalization efforts.

Mayor Weaver brought specific attention to food waste, another high-impact climate change mitigator. “We are missing something,” he noted. “We’re doing composting more than ever, and the work of Eco-Cycle has been instrumental in our progress, but it’s not enough. It starts with putting less food on your plate.” 


A table included in Sam Weaver’s presentation, from Project Drawdown

Climate Action at the State Level in Colorado

Next, State Senator Steve Fenberg, Speaker of the House KC Becker, and Representative Edie Hooton reviewed the sweeping legislation passed in 2019. The 2019 ‘democratic trifecta,’ when three legislative bodies are run by Democrat majorities, accomplished “the most accomplished legislative session, perhaps in the whole country.”

Key bills referenced included: 

  • SB 181, to regulate oil and gas in Colorado through rulemakings from the CO O&G and air quality control group
  • HB 1261, to place state climate goals in statute, including periodic reports and analyses
  • SB 96, to establish means for tracking greenhouse gas emissions data via the AQCC
  • SB 236, to prevent the ‘sunset’ expiration of the public utilities commission. Also directed the Colorado PUC to regulate and consider the social cost of carbon, distribution system planning (including storage options), and codified Xcel’s commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050
  • HB 1314, to create a “just” transition from a coal-based electric economy, to facilitate job training

Although the state’s role in the Just Transition Bill is yet to be determined, the legislation attracted interest from neighboring states. Speaker Becker also described Tri-State’s request for a “carve-out” exemption from climate commitments in HB 1261. This January, several months after the legislature denied the request, Tri-State independently outlined an initiative for early coal plant retirement in its Responsible Energy Plan

Representative Fenberg commented that, “Big picture bills were passed last year – now we’re getting into the nitty gritty.” He described electrification bills, oil and gas rulemakings, air monitoring, and adaptation and mitigation bills at the top of the Senate’s list this year. Representative Hooton discussed her recently-introduced Community Choice Energy study bill, HB 1064. This legislation directs the PUC to evaluate the implications of community choice, which allows communities to arrange independent contracts with electricity generators. Representative Hooton called the process “disruptive; the idea of even studying the impact of disrupting the investor-owned utility model is very chilling to a number of groups.” Other upcoming legislation includes a single-use plastics ban, a pesticides ban, support for “greening” buildings, and new energy procurements. 

Becker expressed excitement about a growing focus on climate action at the state level.   “It’s incredible to see how big the energy conversation is at the capitol,” she stated. “It went from very niche conversations to a big, collaborative issue in the last year.”  At the same time, legislators acknowledged the majority of the work in transforming our energy system lies ahead of us.


Micah Parkin, Executive Director of 350 Colorado talks to interested citizens in the lobby

City and County Climate Action

The legislators’ portion was followed by an address from City Council members Junie Joseph and Mary Young, who spoke on city plans to support equity and just transition issues. The council members noted that Boulder is an economically disparate city, with deep equity issues in its presence. “The City of Boulder recognizes that our Climate Mobilization Action Plan goals must go beyond just closing the gap. We must establish a corporate benchmark that lifts all populations, while paying close attention to those often excluded or impacted,” Junie Joseph commented.

Mary Young elaborated on a just transition: “The focus should really be on talking to trade and labor unions… We want to focus on putting solar panels on roofs, but wouldn’t it be better to focus on solar gardens? Those are accessible to everyone.” 

Next, Lili Francklyn, editor of HOMER Microgrid News, provided a presentation on microgrid success stories in the U.S., chronicling energy savings and the benefits of local, closed systems of energy generation and use. “Now, microgrids are competitive with other types of energy generation,” she stated. The presentation offered a promising future for localized energy systems.


Elise Jones provides an update on Colorado’s fracking legislation and activity

Elise Jones, Boulder County Commissioner, followed with a  presentation on fracking in Colorado, and the audience edged towards the tip of their seats as the Commissioner showed maps of fracking plans from around the state. The Commissioner provided data on air quality issues that travel over county lines, giving Boulder air a grade “F” according to the American Lung Association. In December 2019, the EPA reclassified Colorado as a “serious” violator of federal air quality laws, and the state was directed to cut its emissions in half by 2021. 

Mayor Weaver took the stage as the day’s last presenter, delivering a session on community power and energy democracy. Standing in front of a picture of a California wildfire, he cited PG&E’s 1,500 wildfires in six years and $12 billion losses. He questioned, “How do we know what the state of our transmission system is? What about third party audits?… This issue is shifting closer to home. I can hear a transformer explode outside of my house once every five months.” He urged the city to be proactive, and to localize its power sources to proactively protect Boulder from the pitfalls of corporate-owned infrastructure issues.


Mayor Weaver compares California fires to Boulder fires, warns of repeated tragedy

Community Members Discuss Amongst Themselves

The day closed with the creation of five breakout groups. Below is a description of each group and what the conversation that ensued:

  • Community Choice Energy: The community choice energy group encouraged the audience to visit Energyfreedomco.org. Leslie Glustrom chimed in, “This is the fundamental question: Is the monopoly going to bring us the optimal solutions; are they going to get us there fast enough, at a reasonable price, or is there a way to allow those thousands of bids on solar that have been backed up for years out? As one engineer said, we should build out in parallel, instead of slowly.”
  • Microgrids: This group discussed legal barriers to microgrids as well as advanced meter usage, data issues, and EV charging stations along I-70.
  • Energy Democracy: This group discussed municipalization at length, taking information from  David Cockrell of Pueblo’s Energy Future. The group questioned: If the city created a municipalization, what would the governmental body that accepts citizen input look like? Who would be part of the city’s effort? The group also defined the distinction between a CCA (in which the city would purchase electricity from a generator of their choosing) and municipally-owned utility (in which the city owns and operates its own utility).
  • Fracking in Boulder County: This group covered a variety of topics, including the removal of state control over local energy decisions via SB 181; an example of this was when the Colorado Supreme Court invalidated Longmont and Fort Collins fracking moratoriums in 2016. The group noted that the Longmont ban is going back to the courts. Several advocacy groups joined this discussion, and emphasized the need for collaboration on legislation. 
  • Youth Climate Action:  This group was led by two students at Fairview Highschool. The group discussed Fairview’s sustainability programs and a vision of increased renewable generation in Boulder County schools.

The crowd concluded the day with extended conversation in the lobby on ways to get involved. The event highlighted the impressive steps that Colorado is taking towards climate change mitigation, and similarly shed light on pending concerns. One clear takeaway for all attendees was that our leaders are clearly taking action to fight climate change, and that the policy landscape will continue to morph as climate change accelerates on the Front Range.

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. 

“Stop Fracking Our Future!” 9/29 Broomfield

           Clean Energy Action is thrilled to join 350 Colorado for:                “Stop Fracking Our Future!”

When: Sunday, Sept. 29, 4-7pm

Where: Anthem Community Park at Siena Reservoir (15663 Sheridan Pkwy, Broomfield, CO 80020)

What to bring: Water bottle, a drought-resistant native, edible or pollinator plant, bush or fruit/nut tree, planting tools, an old pair of children’s shoes (for an art project showing the # of children impacted by fracking), and lots of friends and family! (Please carpool or take public transit if possible.)

RSVP here! And please spread the word on Facebook here! Want to volunteer? Email volunteer@350colorado.org

Neighborhood fracking is poisoning Colorado communities and accelerating the climate crisis. From methane leaks speeding up climate change to devastating health impacts on frontline communities and the entire region’s F-grade air quality – it is time we put an end to fracking in Colorado. 

Please join us to show your support! This will be an exciting action culminating the Climate Strike Action Week, with a range of activities for everyone! 

***Live Music by Tierro Band Trio with Bridget Law (of Elephant Revival)***

***Face painting and other activities for kids***

***Food & Drinks***

***Build a community garden to absorb carbon and create a positive alternative vision for our future***

***Sign petitions calling for no new fossil fuel infrastructure, including stopping permits for fracking, and a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy***

***Help educate and activate community members about the dangers of fracking and an alternative renewable energy future***

Please also join us for another Climate Strike Action Week frack event: Sept. 25, 8:30 Youth Press Conference, Rally & COGCC hearing. All events happening Sept. 20-29 can be found at www.ClimateStrikeActionWeek.co

Thanks and see you there!

What’s Next for Colorado’s Energy Policy? A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, November 28th 6:00 PM
George Reynolds Branch Library
3539 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder CO 80305

Join Clean Energy Action this Wednesday evening at George Reynolds Branch Library for a panel discussion of the question: what’s next for Colorado energy policy? Our panel will feature professionals from a wide variety of energy-policy related disciplines and attempt to hone in on the solutions that bear promise in delivering the clean energy future that we know is possible.

Clean Energy Action Founder Leslie Glustrom will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists and subject matter expertise include:

  • Micah Parkin – Executive Director of 350 Colorado, Fossil methane and fracking
  • Steve Szabo – Boulder County Renewable Energy Society, Tri-State Utility Reform
  • Carl Lawrence – CEO of Swift Tram, Elevated transportation options
  • Laurent Meillon – Capitol Solar Energy, Solar Thermal Policy
  • Johnathon Rogers – Energetics, Electricity Competition and “Conventional Transportation”
  • Vincent Calvano – Attorney, Black Hills Energy Issues

Hope to see you there!

Dr. Sandra Steingraber Expert on Environmental and Health Impacts of Fracking

THURSDAY OCT 4TH 7:00 PM
THE CUBE at MCA, STAPLETON 

8371 Northfield Blvd, Denver, CO 80238

Clean Energy Action will welcome acclaimed ecologist and author Dr. Sandra Steingraber to speak on the detrimental health effects of fracking and natural gas production.

Join Dr. Steingraber, CEA and our allies as Steingraber dives into the hard science and overwhelming evidence regarding the serious health effects associated with fracking,  followed by a Q&A.

In speaking about a recent study released by the Physicians for Social Responsibility about the adverse health effects associated with fracking, Dr. Steingraber stated:

“What impressed us, as we reviewed and compiled the data, is just how extensive the impacts from drilling and fracking processes are. Spikes in toxic air pollution accompany fracking wherever it goes. Drinking water is destroyed. Earthquakes are triggered. Abandoned wells leak. Pipelines explode. Climate-killing methane escapes from every component part. And nearby residents are suffering health problems consistent with their exposures — including newborn infants.”

Steingraber was named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, a Person of the Year by Treehugger, and one of 25 “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” by the Utne Reader.

There will be a gathering near fracking sites in Commerce City at 3:30 p.m. with Dr. Steingraber before the speech (press invited), as well as a reception with key energy leader at 5:30 at The Cube, MCA.

Reception and Talk–Suggested donation $30
Public Talk Only –Suggested donation $20
Larger donations from those that can afford it are much appreciated.
No one will be kept away from the public talk for lack of funds. 

We highly encourage your participation in this educational evening if you are interested in learning about the hard facts and research-based science that uncovers the adverse health effects of fracking. In the current political climate, thoroughly investigated facts and information are imperative now more than ever.

 

Where: The Cube at MCA, Stapleton
8371 Northfield Blvd,
Denver, CO 80238

When: Thursday, OCT 4th 2018 7:00 PM

See you there!

Photo credit: www.laurakozlowski.com