Vote yes on 2L, 2O and 2P to Liberate Our Power
Xcel's proposed transition to 55 percent renewables is a welcome possibility, but please note that it is not a commitment. David Eves, Xcel's president in Colorado, said in his Sept. 10 guest opinion in the Daily Camera ("Colorado Energy Plan moves state forward") that "Xcel Energy's electricity supply could be 55 percent renewable by 2026." "Could" is very different from "will."
We have seen versions of this movie before. In 2011, when Boulder was on the verge of asking voters to approve the initial Boulder Light and Power ballot measures, Xcel made a last-minute offer to sell Boulder energy from a yet-to-be-built wind farm. If we had accepted that offer, Boulder would have borne all the risks but Xcel would have set the numbers. Boulder wisely turned down the deal. Then Xcel had the farm built anyway and got a lower per-kilowatt hour price than Boulder would have been forced to pay.
In 2008, when Boulder was starting to consider municipalization, Xcel offered to make Boulder a pilot "Smart Grid City." So Boulder's City Council shelved consideration of municipalization. Due to Xcel's out-of-date design, huge cost overruns and technical problems, the "Smart Grid City" project never produced significant benefit to the Boulder community.
In 2005, Xcel moved forward on building its newest coal plant, Comanche 3, despite scientists warning electric utilities about climate change as early as 1968, utility industry research conducted in 1988 and development organization acknowledgment that "the greenhouse effect is real" ( energyandpolicy.org/utilities-knew-about-climate-change), and protests from individual Boulder citizens at the Public Utilities Commission.
These are just a few of the reasons that convince me that moving forward with municipalization is more promising than staying with Xcel. This is why I'll be voting in favor of ballot measures 2L, 2O and 2P to Liberate Our Power.
Julie Zahniser, Boulder
Keep Boulder a model of sustainability
Fifty years ago, Boulder's visionary citizens were the first in the nation to tax themselves to acquire, maintain and preserve a greenbelt around Boulder's urban limits. This expressed the commitment to Boulder's citizens and wildlife to thrive for generations to come. This was the first of many steps that demonstrated Boulder's desire to be a model of sustainability.
Now we have another opportunity: voting YES on 2L, 2O and 2P. Ballot measure 2L continues the tax passed in 2011, with a slight increase, and will allow Boulder to continue to move forward to have our own electric utility. Boulder has a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Xcel, the utility company presently operating in Boulder, has not been willing to commit to this.
Therefore it is essential we move forward with municipalization to transfer ownership of our electric utility from corporate control by Xcel to local control by ourselves in the city of Boulder. This is not unusual. At least 29 other Colorado cities and hundreds across the nation have locally owned utilities. Municipalization is the fastest way we can shift away from fossil fuel-fired power plants and achieve our climate goal.
The Public Utilities Commission (Sept. 15 Colorado Daily, page 5) has created a path forward for Boulder's municipal utility. We need the tax to continue the application/planning process to create a safe, reliable, and effective utility separate from Xcel.
Related to the yes vote on 2L: vote yes on 2O to make sure we have a final say before moving ahead with big spending, and vote yes on 2P to allow Boulder City Counsel to have private executive sessions to create a strategic plan for success.
These yes votes put the health of our children and our planet above profit.
Shana Parker, Boulder