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Municipalization

Ballot Issues 2B and 2C - Forming a Municipal Electric Utility

What I am working for:

  1. More renewable energy for the City of Boulder
  2. More renewable energy in the State of Colorado
  3. More renewable energy in the United States

How I propose to work toward more renewable energy:

  1. Work with the State Legislature for laws that promote renewable energy, like Solar Gardens which I testified in favor of in both the House and Senate.
  2. Partner with Denver, Aurora and other cities to push Xcel in the right direction. One example would be Community Wind Gardens, and idea I have been promoting to expand choices.
  3. Work at the State Public Utility Commission to push for more renewable energy. Having Cities active at the PUC helps move good agendas forward.

Will Municipilization help get us there in the next decade? No.

  1. Litigation against Xcel to take over their assets will take 5 - 7 years
  2. It will be expensive to buy out Xcel - total costs upwards of half a billion dollars.
  3. Operations costs will be more than the city is estimating
  4. Reliability will suffer - we would need to break the Xcel operational links that manage reliability in the City
  5. Other cities will not follow our example - cities in Colorado will wait a decade to see how we do. Xcel will make it such a long and expensive undertaking that no other city will do it.
  6. We will lose our influence at the State level while we are pursuing this path.
  7. No new renewable energy - the time and money we invest in this will not gain us a single watt of renewable energy. Models being done by advocacy groups that show large percentages of renewable energy are experimental and untested. I would not trust those models to buy power for even a part of the city, much less the entire city.
  8. Opportunity Cost - What projects will we be neglecting to undertake municipilization?

Are Municipal Electric Utilities the answer to Colorado's Energy Future?

  1. Municipal utilities are a reasonably good business if you already have one. It's getting there that is the problem. No municipal utility has been formed in Colorado for at least 40 years and most were formed 75 years ago.
  2. Cities with existing Municipal Utilities in Colorado (and the US) are not greener than Boulder. They don't have more renewable energy and they don't have more green jobs.
  3. None of the municipal utilities in Colorado have any debt load associated with acquiring the distribution grid. If they did, their current budgets would be under water. Imagine up to $40 million per year in interest on bonds.
  4. If Boulder wins against Xcel, other cities in Colorado will lose. The only way for Boulder to make municipilization work would be to avoid stranded costs - making it more difficult for other cities to municipalize.
  5. Future changes in electric power - the huge investments needed to move the electric grid, electric generation and transmission into the future will be better afforded by large investor owned utilities.

Why not vote in favor of municipilization and pursue state level issues at the same time?

  1. Boulder will lose its place at the table with the State Legislature for energy issues
  2. We will lose standing with the PUC as we will be on the path out of Xcel's territory
  3. Other cities will not take us seriously when we suggest partnering and may in fact actively oppose us in our litigation against Xcel

What are my credentials to make these statements?

  1. 32 years as an electrical engineer and manager in the utility industry at Bell Labs and as a consultant
  2. Recent consulting work in smart grid and renewable energy
  3. Advocacy for renewable energy at the State Legislature and Public Utilities Commission
  4. Business case analysis for large utility scale projects in a variety of scenarios for the past 30 years
  5. Extensive knowledge and experience with utility operations systems

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