The Financial Benefits Are Looking Better All The Time
The initial financial modeling for the municipal utility published in 2013 showed a very high likelihood that Boulder’s Municipal Utility could incorporate a high percentage of renewables while still meeting or beating Xcel’s rates. Back then, using available 2011-2012 median data, the average price for electricity from wind was about 3.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), in 2015 dollars. Solar electricity was about 19.4 cents per kWh. Since 2012 these costs have dropped dramatically. As of this writing in 2015, in our region, new wind is about 2.8 cents per kWh and new solar is about 10.7 cents per kWh. Meanwhile Xcel’s rates have gone up every year. So the case that was strong in 2013 is even stronger now and the financial benefits of developing our clean energy municipal utility are looking better all the
It’s this sort of financial advantage that convinced the utilities of places like Georgetown, Texas and Burlington, Vermont to move to 100% renewable energy. In an interview with NPR, a spokesperson for the Burlington municipal utility said, “In looking at whether to buy renewable power, we really were focused on an economic decision. Our financial analysis at that time indicated — actually, to our surprise — that the cheapest long-term financial investment for us with the least amount of risk was to move in this direction.”
Of course Georgetown and Burlington were able to make these smart financial moves because they had municipal utilities, unencumbered by massive investments in fossil fuel generating plants or the need to make a profit.