Oversight: Tracking Boulder's Progress Toward 2030 Goals Under Xcel Agreement
In November 2020, Boulder voters were faced with a choice about how best to achieve our renewable energy goals. In a rushed and pandemic-constrained election, voters opted by 53% to 47% to re-enter a 20-year Franchise Agreement with Xcel Energy, the monopoly electricity provider.
DAYS since voter approval of franchise with Xcel.
DAYS until first discretionary opt-out (off-ramp) decision to exit Xcel franchise (election on November 4, 2025).
TONS of GREENHOUSE GASES ELIMINATED as a result of the Xcel Agreement
A. Boulder's Electricity Goals
Goal 1: 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 (Approved by Council in 2016) – What has been accomplished since signing the Xcel Agreement?
Goal 2: 100 Megawatts (MW) Local Renewable Electricity Generation by 2030
Goal 1: 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030 — What has been accomplished since signing the Xcel Agreement?
We don't seem to have made much progress.
Xcel Grid vs. Boulder’s Goal
How will Boulder meet its climate goals of 100% renewable electric energy with a provider, Xcel, whose mix is still 63% fossil fuels?
Xcel is moving too slowly!
Sources and notes: 1) Xcel’s 2030 target is from page 4 of Xcel’s Electric Resource Plan of March, 2021
2) Xcel’s path to its 2030 goal is not exactly a straight line. Under the Franchise Agreement Xcel has committed to some stepwise targets or “benchmarks” in 2022, 2024, and 2027. See Franchise Agreement, Section 2.5 Opt-Out – GHG Progress (page 5).
What's the problem? Xcel's fuel mix is Boulder's fuel mix
Xcel’s Mix is Boulder’s Mix
Boulder’s electricity is provided by Xcel Energy which controls Boulder’s electricity energy mix.
Goal 2. Boulder's progress toward its goal of 100 megawatts (MW) local renewable electricity generation by 2030 (independent of Xcel)
This Chart Shows Boulder's Progress Independent of Xcel
PUC decisions currently in progress that affect Boulder because we're in franchise with Xcel:
1. Xcel's Proposed Rate Increases
Xcel customer bill impact: Xcel plans 12% across the board rate increase.
Xcel's profits have soared skyrocketed multiplied
while the amount of electricity sold has stayed relatively flat
Xcel Colorado’s cumulative electricity profit from 2003 to 2020 totaled over $5.5 billion.
During that period, Xcel's profit rose 211%.
That represents an increase in Xcel's profits of 169% above the inflation rate (of 42.2%).
Sources: Public Service Co. of Colorado, Annual 10K reports 2003 – 2020.
The total emissions 2005-2020 were 433,000,000 tons of CO2.
Xcel did not report CO2 emissions before 2005.
2. Xcel's Electric Resource Plan
In Xcel’s preferred electricity generation portfolio presented at the PUC in March, 2021:
Xcel plans to continue to burn coal until 2039.
- Given climate change, this is unconscionable: millions of tons of CO2 into atmosphere annually
Xcel plans to build new fossil gas generation plants.
- resulting in increased rates, and
- continuing production of CO2, and
- the plants will likely become obsolete, resulting in further rate increases by Xcel when shut down
C. Boulder-Xcel Electric Utility Relationship — Franchise Agreement
Background on the 20-year Electric UtIlity Franchise Agreement
The Boulder-Xcel electric utility relationship is based on a Settlement Agreement that includes two components:
- Franchise Agreement Note: this link goes to Exhibit A, p. 16
- Partnership Agreement Note: this link goes to Exhibit B, p. 54
Electricity regulation and rates are the responsibility of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) (see above)
D. State Legislation
This section is being developed, please check back.