Municipalizing Green Energy

In this Forbes article, Boulder, Colo. is fighting for the control to provide its people with renewable, green energy slated to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, according to Boulder City Council.

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The city is attempting to wrestle control out of the hands of Xcel Energy, one of Boulder’s chief energy suppliers. By “municipalizing” utilities, meaning the city would calculate the fair value of assets as well as setting pricing, the city hopes to reach its projected goal to provide 90% of the power with renewable green energy by 2020. Today Boulder gets about 11% of its electricity from green sources.

Xcel is proving hesitant to go forth with the agreement, saying that the city council is largely underestimating the costs and complications of municipalization. Boulder hopes to not raise utility prices to their citizens under the new plan, however a bid is yet to be met with Xcel.

The city has hired an independent consultant to check their numbers, however a short time frame of just 2 months of evaluation might impede accurate results.

Do you think cities should municipalize energy sources? What are some of the risks and/or benefits of doing so? Would you want it to be done in your own city, if it meant more renewable, green energy?

 

Lindsay Finan

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