“Boulder voters narrowly passed a historic ballot measure Tuesday that will allow the city to sever its ties with Xcel Energy and strike out on its own to start a municipal electric utility.A companion tax designed to pay for the legal bills and consultants fees that the city will incur on the way to starting such a utility also narrowly passed early Wednesday morning despite trailing in preliminary results all Tuesday night.As of 12:55 a.m. with an unofficial total of 82,724 votes counted, Boulder Question 2C, which allows for the creation of a municipal utility, passed with 51.8 percent of the vote — a margin of 933 votes.Issue 2B, which will raise the existing utility occupation tax by $1.9 million annually, passed with 50.3 percent of the vote — a margin of 141 votes.”
“The savings from the group purchase are enormous. With prices are around $4.40 per Watt installed for solar, Open Neighborhoods gets residential solar for $2.00 cheaper than the average prices reported by the Solar Energy Industries Association for the second quarter of 2011. That equates to a 6 cents per kilowatt-hour savings on solar over 25 years. Even with solar typically being cheaper in California, the group advertises savings of as much as 33% on a residential solar array.
The low group purchase price means that those who go solar will have cheaper electricity from their rooftop panels than average grid electricity by 2015. If the solar user is on a time-of-use pricing plan, they’ll already have cheaper electricity from solar than from their utility.”
“Proponents of ballot issues 2C and 2B, which includes a $1.9 million tax increase in the first year to pay for planning and analysis, say that the utility industry desperately fears a public awakening, and that a John Brown-like raid on a monopoly in one place could galvanize electricity consumers all across the nation to push for change.”
“The measures would give the city permission to break from Xcel and start a municipal utility. Xcel Energy, once again, is by far the biggest contributor in the fight, pouring an additional $118,036 into its own issue committee and an additional $240,000 to the Boulder Smart Energy Coalition since the last round of financial reporting on Oct. 18.”
“If SmartGridCity was intended to demonstrate that Xcel was serious about modernizing Boulder’s grid, incorporating smarts and an ambitious renewable energy agenda, that didn’t pan out very well. (For coverage on the public relations debacle that cost recovery produced, see “Ratepayers on Hook for Xcel’s $44.5 Million SmartGridCity.”)
From many Boulderites’ perspective, SmartGridCity took too long to produce any tangible benefits, triple cost overruns caused outrage and, based on those two reasons alone, the relationship soured further.”
Boulder County still recovering from heavy snowfall; 1,100 remain without power – Boulder Daily Camera
“About 1,100 Boulder-area electricity customers remained without power Thursday afternoon, according to Xcel spokesman Gabriel Romero. Along the Front Range, outages totaled 3,700 customers.Romero said 90 percent of the outages in Boulder should be resolved by this evening. He said its difficult to pinpoint when the remaining 10 percent will regain power because fixing “significant structural damage” relies on a web of workers to clear broken trees and restore damaged poles before electricity can be restored.On Thursday, Xcel had nearly 30 crews working in Boulder and 120 others dispatched throughout Colorado, most of whom were called in from other service areas such as Grand Junction, New Mexico and Texas.”Theyre doing as much as they can,” Romero said.
Amy Hirter, a University Hill resident for more than 20 years, said she was frustrated by Xcels response to the blackouts. She said preventive trimming of the trees near power lines would have been an “easy, doable and probably cheaper way” to handle the situation.Hirter, whose electricity went off Tuesday night and resumed Thursday afternoon, said those without power havent been able to cook, and some have taken shelter at hotels or elsewhere because of the lack of heat.On Thursday afternoon, the Boulder County Justice Center was forced to close for a second time in two days after a power failure caused malfunctioning of the security system that monitors people entering the facility. The building, which houses the Boulder municipal courts, was closed Wednesday for the same reason.”
“Coal costs at Xcel’s newest and largest Colorado coal plant, Comanche 3, are currently increasing by more than 10%/year; however, Xcel Energy is modeling their coal costs as going up by less than 2% per year when making their consumer rate projections.”
“The downed power lines from the storm have affected around 20,000 customers in the Boulder area, and as of 2:30 p.m., just under 16,000 of them were still without power, according to Xcel. While no major lines are down, many smaller lines and lines directly connecting homes to the power system have been pulled down by falling branches. About 28Colorado Xcel crews are working in the Boulder area, and officials hope to have power restored to most locations by midnight.”We anticipated this, which is why we brought in extra crews from Grand Junction and New Mexico,” Aguayo said.”
85,000 MW of Coal Plants in India Facing Coal Shortages: A Wake-Up Call to the US | Clean Energy Action
“Like in India, the majority of the energy in the US is generated from the burning of coal. Furthermore, coal supply issues are of increasing concern in the US as the much-touted “200 years of available coal” is proving to be highly implausible and the planning horizon for moving beyond coal could be as short as 20-30 years in the US. Clean Energy Action’s coal report
India is currently experiencing the severity of coal constraints as critical coal shortages and restricted supplies currently stand to affect 85,000 MW of energy generation in the country.”
“Some cities have come up with specific targets for efficiency. In San Antonio, the municipally owned power provider, CPS Energy, has plans to cut its consumption by 771 megawatts through energy efficiency by 2020, using various incentives and nudges. Customers who buy highly efficient cooling systems rather than the minimum-standard kind can, for example, get a rebate to make up the difference in price. As the more efficient systems yield lower bills, this is quite an attractive proposition. The 771MW figure represents about 10% of the utility’s current generation capacity, or about as much as a typical coal-fired power plant can produce. This summer, in fact, CPS announced that it will shut down a 900MW coal-fired plant by 2018, a Texas first.Environmentalists hailed the announcement: coal is the most villainous fossil fuel. As with the customers, though, the city’s motivation was mostly pragmatic. San Antonio has its share of greenish priorities—downtown redevelopment, an electric fleet—but in deciding to close the coal-fired plant, the spur was simply cost. Installing a scrubber that would have brought the coal plant in question up to the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards would have cost half a billion dollars. The utility was keen to put off that expense, if not avoid it altogether, by making up the demand with natural gas or solar. Julián Castro, San Antonio’s mayor, argues that the energy efficiency is a complement to the latter, rather than a competitor. “One of the ways to bridge the time that those renewables need is by reducing the need for new energy,” he says.”