2C is Neither Great, Nor Green
If we sign a 20-year franchise agreement:
- Boulder may not be able to reach its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030, given Xcel has been foot-dragging on climate for a decade
- Xcel is only planning to use 65% renewable energy by 2030 and
- Xcel is planning to achieve carbon reduction by increasing use of fracked fossil gas (See Why Say No on 2C: Carbon Goals)
- Xcel is committed to burning (increasingly expensive) coal and/or other fossil fuels least until 2070; Xcel has also proposed advanced nuclear.
- It puts an abrupt end to 10 years of hard work to bring clean power to Boulder, and millions of dollars invested in exploring our own local power utility. Our current court cases would be dismissed. And, we will not know the costs of our own public power utility (which we were promised prior to any go/no go vote). Boulder could end up with nothing: By signing this agreement, Boulder also loses its leverage with Xcel. Many believe that the carbon reductions Xcel has made in the last decade were in no small part because of Boulder’s pressure.
- We’ll stay trapped in an outdated energy paradigm: A new Xcel franchise will prevent us from innovating. We’ll be back in the confines of a century-old regulatory framework based on a fossil fuel economy and Xcel’s legacy, profit-driven business model of centralized power generation.
We will be stuck with:
- Comanche 3 Coal Plant—In 2010, Xcel finished building a new, approximately billion dollar coal plant in Colorado. It is expected to operate until 2070.
- The Investor-Owned Utility Whose Legal Delays Have Thwarted Boulder’s Efforts to Substantially Address Climate Change —Boulder is the home of literally dozens of climate scientists and thousands of citizens who recognize the dire nature of the climate crisis and who have been trying for close to 20 years to address the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in our community, which is the carbon intensity of our electricity. If Xcel really wanted to partner with us in addressing this defining issue of our times, it has had more than enough time to demonstrate that it understands the seriousness of the climate crisis and to constructively help Boulder achieve its climate and energy goals. Instead, Xcel has used a plethora of legal stalling tactics to slow Boulder’s progress down.
- Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets—Despite the clear signs that fossil fuels were not the correct choice for a 21st century electrical system, Xcel has continued to spend large amounts of money on coal and natural gas generation and infrastructure, leading its customers into a deep hole that at this point very likely represents over $1.5 billion in stranded assets. Boulder citizens do not want to inherit these fossil fuel mistakes.
- Failure to Optimize Cost-Effective Renewable Generation—Xcel received over 50,000 MW of low-cost, wind, solar and storage projects in late 2017. While it is moving about 2,000 MW of those projects forward, it has left over 90% of these carbon-reducing projects “on the table,” while the coal and natural gas plants continue to drive us into what is increasingly being called a climate apocalypse. The COVID-19 virus has shown us what happens when we don’t listen to the scientists; it is unconscionable that Xcel’s Colorado generation is still approximately 70% fossil fuel driven when we’ve known since at least 2009 that Colorado had abundant wind and solar projects ready to go that would decrease Xcel’s system costs.
Vote No on 2C