Virginia L. Winter: Muni is a breakout strategy


Boulder’s muni effort is a breakout strategy to address climate change, because it enables Boulder to redirect the $120 million now paid to Xcel annually by Boulder customers, toward conservation, renewable energy, public and private innovation, and a locally controlled grid. Acquiring the distribution system from Xcel enables Boulder to do these important things that it cannot do now:

1. Choose energy producers that are inexpensive, reliable and low carbon, not just the energy from Xcel-owned assets.

2. Create a flexible and responsive grid that can respond to innovation, and permit energy entrepreneurs and startups to offer products to Boulder customers.

3. Enhance the “SmartGridCity” that Xcel started, then abandoned, in 2010.

4. Bundle the buying power of Boulder customers to obtain renewable energy without the 20 percent premium that Xcel now charges for Windsource.

5. Expand energy efficiency and other demand-side management programs with on-bill financing.

6. Expand the opportunities for distributed generation.

7. Form an energy services incubator to drive innovation.

Boulder can do none of these in the so-called “partnership” with Xcel, except to the extent that Boulder pays twice: first to subsidize the project with general fund dollars, then secondly, to pay a second time as electricity generated with Boulder subsidized projects is purchased from Xcel.

Let’s keep our breakout strategy, by putting our case to the PUC on April 26.

This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Daily Camera.