Chris Hoffman: Xcel’s risky overture

In this time of pandemic, no one wants to take unnecessary risks. We are all hoping that as we navigate this crisis, we will do it in a way that allows us to emerge into a cleaner, safer, healthier, more equitable world.
That’s why I was concerned to learn that Xcel is trying to lure Boulder back into an agreement with a monopoly with a business model fraught with risks — to our economy, to our resilience, to our planetary survival (Re: “Why is Boulder pursuing a partnership with Xcel when residents have repeatedly voted in support of the muni?” News, May 21, 2020).
One of the things we’ve already learned from the COVID crisis is that big actions early save lives. The same is true of the climate crisis. Some utilities are stepping up. Consumers Energy of Michigan plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. That’s 10 years sooner than Xcel’s goal of 2050. Platte River Power Authority is preparing a plan for 90-95% renewables by 2030 at business-as-usual rates. That’s 20 years sooner. By contrast, Xcel recently declined offers to supply it with tens of thousands of megawatts of very low-cost renewables. Xcel’s decision represents a planetary risk.
We have already learned from Boulder’s floods and wildfires that having a resilient electric system in the city could save lives and property. Microgrids would be a key component of resilience. Boulder community power offers this. Xcel does not. A resilience risk.
The COVID crisis has exacted an enormous toll on Boulder businesses (and consequently the City’s tax revenue for providing essential services).  As we work to emerge from the crisis it would be very helpful to have an additional $23 million each year circulating in our local economy. Instead of circulating and multiplying locally, this amount is siphoned away every year by Xcel and sent to Minneapolis. A financial risk.
I support a thriving future instead of these risks.  
Chris Hoffman/Boulder
Published 5/28/2020 in the Boulder Weekly

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