Crystal Gray: Climate Justice and Equity- why local electrical control is important


July 21, 2020

Hi Council,

At each of the listening sessions I have brought up Climate Justice and Equity and asked to have the proposed Boulder Power and Light (Muni) and the Xcel settlement Key Elements evaluated as to how both choices would address this.

I hope you, and the Boulder community, will think deeply about Climate Justice and Equity and how that might look as we discuss a municipal electric system – this is an opportune time for the City of Boulder to make changes by owning our power distribution system so we have a more equitable energy system that does not leave people, without the resources, from fully benefiting in their homes, businesses and lives.

Here are just a few examples of changes to get a more just system:

Adding BIPOC to a Boulder Power and Light Board would be a good start so decision making is broadened as well as ideas. That is what democratizing our energy system could look like. Would Xcel add seats on their board so Boulder residents have representation?  Would the PUC expand their board and be more inclusive?

Allow Boulder residents and businesses with rooftop solar to donate their excess energy generation to non-profits working on climate, or Justice issues, or affordable housing groups, or people at lower economic levels or local businesses…just some of many ideas.  Xcel said that the state legislature set the 120% rule but Xcel also lobbied hard to keep that number low. Many people have received federal tax credits for their solar – maybe the future would hold a sharing energy economy so all members can benefit with the excess energy that is generated.  The community becomes the new shareholders – and dividends can come in many ways.

There is so much more to this discussion and I look forward to hearing the community discuss this – don’t rush forward with a new franchise – to me it really will be the same old system and I think this is a time that people will be open to change.

Best,

Crystal Gray
Council Member 2003-2011
Deputy Mayor 2007-2009