Boulder is Part of a Worldwide Movement


Spurred on by the stick of climate change and the carrot of saving money, countries, states, cities, and companies around the world are moving toward renewable energy. Boulder is aligned with Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany, the state of California, Google, neighboring Fort Collins, and many others (some details below).

Also, Boulder is a founding member of the international Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, with Berlin, Boston, Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Minneapolis, New York City, Oslo, Portland, OR, San Francisco, Seattle, Stockholm, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington DC, and Yokohama. So in our journey to municipalization, Boulder is in good – and growing – company.

For more of the latest news on this transition, and on the technologies and policies that are making it possible, click here.

News on some of the renewable energy leaders – global, national, and local:

China will likely achieve—and may even exceed—its target to obtain 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.

Denmark set a new world record for wind production in 2014, getting 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from the clean energy source. The latest figures put the country well on track to meet its 2020 goal of getting 50 percent of its power from renewables. Last year, onshore wind was also declared the cheapest form of energy in the country.

Renewable energy was the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply in 2014, with nearly 26 percent of the country’s power generation coming from clean sources. Electricity output from renewables has grown eightfold in Germany since 1990, and the latest data further highlights the dramatic shift towards clean energy taking place in Europe’s largest economy.

2014 was a “massive year” for renewables in Scotland. Over six months of the year, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100 percent of Scottish households, while in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness there was enough sunshine to provide 100 percent or more of the electricity needs for an average home in June and July.  A new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study predicts that Scotland’s power grid could viably become entirely fossil-free by 2030.

California is making such quick progress toward its goal of getting 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 that Gov. Jerry Brown raised the ante earlier this year, setting a target of 50 percent by 2030.

Some companies in the private sector have been making great strides. Google, for example is currently using renewable energy to power 35% of their operations. They say, “We’re striving to power our company with 100% renewable energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, we see renewable energy as a business opportunity and continue to invest in accelerating its development.

The municipal utility in Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy.

The municipal utility in Georgetown, Texas, intends to be all-renewable by 2017. The city of 50,000 has signed major deals with a wind farm and with SunEdison for solar power. Georgetown’s general manager of utilities Jim Briggs said, “By securing these renewable contracts the utility can consider itself 100 percent green, but it does so at extremely competitive costs for energy, and it hedges against future fuel and regulatory risks, fulfilling our initial goal.”

Closer to home, the municipal utility in Fort Collins has helped the city establish some of the most ambitious climate commitments in the nation. Under new goals adopted in March 2015, the city aims to reduce its community greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2030 (relative to a 2005 baseline) and 100 percent (reaching carbon neutrality) by 2050.

For more of the latest news on this transition, and on the technologies and policies that are making it possible, click here.