Empower Our Future

Clean Energy. Local Control.

Oversight: Tracking Boulder's Progress Toward 2030 Goals Under Xcel Agreement

Background

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.

0

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).

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? 

According to Xcel Energy’s Electric Resource Plan, their “Aspiration” is to be 100% carbon free by 2050. 

Xcel is moving too slowly!

xcelvsboulderREGoalchart3v2

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. 

Xcel’s 2020 portfolio is shown in the circle graph (63% to go to reach Boulder’s goal!) 

Chart Source: Xcel Energy (scroll down the page)

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

Boulder is making 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.

https://www.calculator.net/inflation-calculator.html

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:

 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.