Why A Boulder Electric Utility Makes More Sense Than Ever
Eight Compelling Reasons For A Clean-Energy Municipal Utility:
Combat Climate Change
Over 97% of climate scientists are convinced, based on the evidence, that human-caused climate change is happening. It has become increasingly clear that climate change poses a potentially lethal threat to human civilization as we know it. The impacts of climate change on Boulder and Colorado are becoming more and more evident, through extreme weather events, increased forest fire danger, and reduced snowpack. So a Boulder municipal utility that will slash greenhouse gas pollution from fossil fuel electricity makes more sense than ever.
Preserve Our Supply of Electricity
About half of Xcel’s electricity comes from coal. Yet the supply of coal that can be mined profitably is almost exhausted. The US coal industry is in dire financial straits. There is a serious risk of failure in our coal supply because the top three suppliers of coal to Colorado plants have been in the red for the past three years running. (Just look at the financials for Peabody (BTU), Arch (ACI) and Alpha Natural (ANR)). One analyst told the Financial Times (Feb. 2015), “I think you’re going to see multiple bankruptcies in U.S. coal over the next 12 to 18 months.
What will happen as the coal companies sink ever deeper into the red? So a Boulder municipal utility that reduces reliance on coal makes more sense than ever.
A renewable energy municipal utility can insulate consumers from the rising costs of fossil fuels, since the “fuels” of wind and solar energy are free. In addition, the dramatically dropping costs of wind, solar, and battery technologies are making renewables a better investment than fossil generation of electricity. Costs for renewable electricity are coming down almost by the month. The financial benefits of a Boulder municipal utility are looking better all the time.
A track record of other municipal utilities, courtesy of American Public Power Association, and the case of Massachusetts Alliance for Municipal Electric Choice suggest that a Boulder municipal utility a Boulder municipal utility could provide better reliability than Xcel.
Gain Local Control
With a Boulder municipal utility we can gain local control so we can address community priorities, instead of having to spend legal dollars opposing Xcel at the Public Utilities Commission.
Stimulate Boulder Business And Entrepreneurship In Clean Energy
Given the strong entrepreneurial spirit in our community, opportunities to work with a locally controlled innovative electric utility will help grow existing businesses and incubate new ones. While Xcel has been trying to hamstring residential solar energy, Boulder’s intention is to embrace solar.
Help Our Local Economy
With a Boulder electric utility we can keep millions of dollars in the community that currently flow off to Xcel.
Gain Energy Resiliency
There is a growing recognition among grid experts that reliability in the face of extreme weather is best served by a more decentralized, micro-grid type structure—very different from Xcel’s centralized fossil fuel powered system. Innovation in the supply, storage and management of electricity is exploding. Xcel will have a hard time adapting to these new opportunities due to large investments in last century’s coal and natural gas technologies. With increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather, a Boulder electric utility makes more sense than ever.
Boulder Citizens are doing “comparison shopping” between Xcel and the Municipal Utility. These are our only two options. In this comparison Xcel does not look very good.