Empower Our Future

Clean Energy. Local Control.

Events & Education

Energy: education — inspiration — aspiration

UPCOMING EMPOWER HOUR EVENTS

Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 6pm Empower Hour with EcoCycle: the Role of Zero Waste as a Climate Solution

Zero Waste is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective first steps for a community to immediately reduce its GHG emissions. Learn more at this virtual Empower Hour.

Join us! Speak at the Colorado Public Utility Commissioners’ Electric Resource Plan Remote Comment Public Hearing - Dec. 2, 2021

Sign up to Testify on 12.2.21

Sign up for PUC Public Comment here
Testify at the December 2, 2021 Public Hearing on the Xcel Electric Resource Plan (21A-0141E), 4-7 pm. It takes a minute or less to sign up. 

Citizen Training for PUC Hearing Xcel Colorado Electric Resource Plan (offered three dates)

Attend a Zoom Citizen Training on Tuesday, November 23, or 30, 2021, at 7 pm. Sessions will cover similar material and will not be recorded. See details on the ‘Action’ page.

PAST EMPOWER HOUR EVENTS

John Farrell, Co-Director, Institute for Local Self Reliance on Energy Democracy • Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 6pm

John Farrell is a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs the Energy Democracy Initiative. Widely known as the guru of distributed energy, John has received accolades for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy. He hosts the Local Energy Rules podcast, telling powerful stories of local clean energy action, and frequently discusses the ownership and scale of the energy system on Twitter, @johnffarrell. 

John authored Energy Self-Reliant States, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential highlighted in the New York Times, showing that most states don’t need to look outside their borders to meet their electricity needs. He’s also written extensively on the economic advantages of Democratizing the Electricity System and community renewable energy, published a rich interactive map on solar grid parity, and polished the policies (like Minnesota’s solar energy standard) necessary to support locally owned renewable energy development. 

Farrell was integral in working with XCEL Minnesota, State of Minnesota, and others on the seminal Value of Solar study and also highly instrumental in making Minnesota the U.S. leader in community solar! 

John provides data-rich presentations on local renewable energy for the common citizen across the glove. John’s work appears most regularly on Energy Self-Reliant States, a blog with timely and compelling analysis of current energy discussions and policy. 

Climate & Energy Forums with Boulder City Council Candidates: Thursday, October 7 & Monday, October 11 at 6pm.

Note, while Empower Hours are usually 60 minutes, the Candidate Forums will be 90 minutes each, due to the number of candidates running.

Thursday October 7, 2021
Matt Benjamin
Lauren Folkerts
David Takahashi
Dan Williams
Steven Rosenblum

Monday October 11, 2021
Nicole Speer
Mark Wallach
Michael Christy
Tara Winer
Jacques Decalo 

Dr. Peter Lilienthal: What's Up with Microgrids
Thursday, August 12 at 6pm

Microgrids are frequently mentioned in relation to renewable energy, but what exactly are they? Join us to learn the answer, hear a brief history of microgrids, how they are used around the globe, and how they might be utilized in Colorado communities.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Dr. Peter Lilienthal is Global Microgrid Lead for UL, LLC. Previously, he was the CEO of HOMER Energy. Since 1992, he has been the developer of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s HOMER® hybrid power optimization software, which has been used by over 250,000 energy practitioners in 193 countries. NREL licensed HOMER Energy to be the sole world-wide commercialization licensee to distribute and enhance the HOMER model.

Dr. Lilienthal was the Senior Economist with International Programs at NREL from 1990 – 2007. He was one of the creators of NREL’s Village Power Program. He has a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. He has been active in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1978. This has included designing and teaching courses at the university level, project development of independent power projects, and consulting to industry and regulators. His expertise is in the economic and financial analysis of renewable and micro-grid projects.

View Dr. Lilienthal’s PPT slides (pdf) here.  See the Hot Topics page for more about microgrids.

Chris Hoffman on National Legislation: Wednesday, May 19 at 6pm

Powering America Forward to Clean Energy

A carbon price is the single most powerful tool available to reduce America’s carbon pollution. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act puts a fee on carbon pollution, creating a level playing field for clean energy. The money collected from fossil fuel companies goes to Americans in the form of a monthly ‘carbon cash back’ payment so that everyone can afford the transition.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER:  Chris Hoffman, M.B.A., M.Ed. is a retired management consultant and counselor with 23 years’ experience in the utility industry as well as additional consulting experience in other industries, plus five years’ experience in mental health counseling with various agencies. He is the author of an ecopsychology book, several professional articles, and three books of poetry.  He currently devotes most of his time to volunteer work for an equitable and thriving future with a livable climate. Chris has been an active volunteer with Empower Our Future (formerly RenewablesYES) since 2011, and with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) since 2013.  For four years Chris was CCL’s liaison to Senator Michael Bennet.

April 28, 2021: Energy Expert, Ken Regelson — Making Miles While the Sun Shines: Why charging EVs for cheap is good for everyone’s electric bill.

Ken Regelson speaks on energy in clear and engaging ways to audiences of all experience levels – energy nerds to regular folk. He has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, along with 21 years of experience in modeling and analysis of an energy grid based primarily on renewables. For five years, Ken was a policy analyst at the state capitol and Public Utilities Commission representing Colorado’s solar installers. For much of last year, Ken had five interns working on key grid-impact questions of high levels of renewables and energy policy.  Slides are here.

Resources from Ken & EnergyShouldBe.org 

• Talk to Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists – Members in Transition. 4/15/21. What is Driving the Energy Transition? Climate, cost, and competition.

• A 2 minute guide to electric car charging on YouTube

• EnergyShouldBe.org intern Kirya Miller’s 20 minute video gets into detail on modeling Alternatives to New Natural Gas Generation for Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) based specifically on several months of modeling dark calms using PRPA data. Note: we are using PRPA data with permission. We have no professional relationship with PRPA.

• A 7-minute summary version of the next video: Alternatives to New Natural Gas Generation for Platte River Power Authority

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Thanks to CEA for a great evening on March 31!

CEA 15th Anniversary Celebration & Sneak Peak at Xcel’s Energy Resource Plan. Video will be posted soon.

March 18, 2021: CCE Deep Dive with Rep. Hooton and Larry Miloshevich

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Community Choice Energy (CCE) allows communities to choose alternative wholesale electricity suppliers, while the utility continues to deliver the electricity and manage customer service and billing. CCE has good potential for faster progress on climate change and more competitive rates. Subject matter expert, Larry Miloshevich, was on hand to answer questions.

February 11, 2021: Virtual Energy and Environment Town Hall with Senator Fenberg and Reps. Hooton and Amabile

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The second of our “Empower Hour” series, this was our first legislative preview of the 2021 session! Thanks to Senator Fenberg, Rep. Hooton, and Rep. Amabile. The legislators spoke about the energy and environmental priorities for the Seventy-third General Assembly — and that important energy legislation is forthcoming!

January 28, 2021: Holy Cross Energy and Their Journey to 100% Renewables

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We had a great conversation with Holy Cross Energy Team Members Bryan Hannegan, President and CEO and Steve Beuning, Vice President, Power Supply and Programs

In December 2020, Holy Cross Energy (serving areas around Aspen, Vail and Glenwood Springs) announced that they would go to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. It was terrific to hear about their successes and challenges.