Something’s Rotten in the People’s Republic of Boulder. Three Things, to be Exact.

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on Jun 1, 2013
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Three things, to be exact.*

Boulder

Update, via Indigo: Please please please urge people to come to the County-wide meeting tomorrow at 5 pm at the Courthouse. While City of Boulder may be protected for another year, many people who love, work, and commune in Boulder live in Boulder County not City of Boulder. And if the City of Boulder is surrounded by fracking wells, the poison will get into the “bubble”! We’ve got to try to stop these wells from taking over the county of Boulder.

Update: some good news! Boulder (the City, not County) has passed a one year moratorium on fracking within city limits. There’s a good deal of support, additionally, for a ballot. While this will have extremely limited protective impact on our health and our childrens’ health, it’s a welcome moment of standing up to the Natural Gas industry. Reminder: as City Councilor Ken Wilson reminded us: conserve. If we’re using more than a little natural gas (hot water, heat), we’re part of the problem. ~ ed.

If gmos, fracking & coal/gas corporations [*oh! And Wal-Mart finally succeeded in gaining entree to Boulder after three decades of trying!] can defeat the citizens of Boulder, then can and will win anywhere.

This morning, at Farmers’ Market, babies played while parents laughed and dogs played off in the creek and a jazz band played and we ate our lunch and drank our coffee and shopped for local goods from farmers and students laid about the grass, getting sun. But…something is rotten in the state of Boulder: three things, to be exact, undoing the paradise that we steward.

It’s as if Darth Vader’s Evil Empire has targeted the last “Green” Rebels and infiltrated the heart of their Capitol, only instead of ewoks you’ll find entrepreneurs, old hippies (made rich off being eco-entrepreneurs), SUV-driving permaculture-studying college students, yoga teachers and climbing cycling running software developers.

Boulder, Colorado has a long, proud history of guiding its own present and shaping its own future. Of benefiting our economy through our environmentalism, and vice versa. But now, in rapid succession, well-funded shady corporate giants have successfully pushed us to:

1. allow gmos on our taxpayer-funded Open Space. {For more info}

2. allow fracking in our County, fouling our water supply and harming our health. {For more info}

3. and, now, to support a ballot undoing what we voted for only a year ago—offering up 5,000 confused signatures supporting Xcel’s underhanded ballot measure to undo last year’s ballot measure, when we heroically voted to study municipalization, making our energy utility independent, cheaper and greener. {For more info} Note: this one’s not a done deal, though it looks bad. If you signed and didn’t know what you signed, or were white-lied to about what you were signing (this has been happening), or want to take your signature off, contact New Era and ask what to do.

~

For the full story from New Era, click here. Excerpt:

Go home, Xcel. Decline to sign!

Xcel Energy is up to no good once again. They’re* attempting to place a ballot measure on the Boulder ballot that would effectively kill the city’s ability to make an informed decision about creating a greener, more affordable electric utility. This confusing and misleading ballot measure is a textbook example of how corporations attempt to influence and undermine our democracy.

They’re showing our community that they’ll stop at nothing and spend whatever it takes to protect their profits.

Tell Xcel to stop undermining our local process that voters already approved. It’s time for an energy future that’s based on innovation, not corporate control.

Petitioners will be collecting signatures throughout our community to place their initiative on the ballot—they’ll most likely be willing to say anything in order to meet their quotas and get paid.

Take the pledge: decline to sign Xcel’s misleading petition.

Let’s send a message loud and clear: Xcel, get your hands off our democracy!

read the rest here.

 


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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

Comments

38 Responses to “Something’s Rotten in the People’s Republic of Boulder. Three Things, to be Exact.”

  1. BBolder says:

    There probably are many things wrong in the People's Republic, but I do not believe you've correctly identified them:

    1. allow gmos on our taxpayer-funded Open Space.

    Note: Everyday you voluntarily pay money for GMO products; they likely form the basis of your entire diet. Anyday you could stop doing that – you could take responsibility for your own actions – but instead the rage is to pass a law that will keep them out of your backyard, but will have zero overall effect because you're still giving the evil corporation your money, paying them to do what you say you don't want.

    2. allow fracking in our County, fouling our water supply and harming our health.

    The economic model for pro-municipalization was built around switching to cheap natural gas – see #3 below. Yo: it's cheap because it's fracked. Hydraulic fracturing changed the entire industry; it is now the norm for new production. So pro-muni/anti-fracking people are talking out of both sides of their mouth – you can't have it both ways – I personally don't care one way or the other, but I do care about honesty, self-awareness, and being responsible for one's own actions. There will be no new pipeline built from the Powder River Basin to our doorsteps to supply us with organic natural gas, no matter how special we think we are.

    3. and, now, to support a ballot undoing what we voted for only a year ago—offering up 5,000 confused signatures supporting Xcel’s underhanded ballot measure to undo last year’s ballot measure, when we heroically voted to study municipalization, making our energy utility independent, cheaper and greener.

    One doth protest too much – Xcel is the #1 supplier of wind energy in the hemisphere, about #5 for solar, and is voluntarily on track to supply the entire state (not just the People's Republic) with 30% renewable power by 2020, a ratio very few municipal owned utilities have ever achieved. There is nothing "shady" about them – Boulder has budgeted 12 millions of our dollars to force condemnation of this company's property, they have a duty to their shareholders to resist that, and have publicly stated they will do so. If the government was using taxpayers dollars to force condemnation of your business, I suspect you would do the same.

    This statement basically summarizes the whole issue: ".. well-funded shady corporate giants…" Does anyone really talk like that anymore? I certainly used to … when I was 17. But now that I'm not a teenager anymore, and have (mostly) ceased childish rebellion, I realize that as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us".

    YOU can stop GMO's right now – for yourself – just commit to sourcing your own food.

    YOU can stop fracking right now – for yourself – initiate all the energy efficiency programs Xcel, Boulder, and Colorado offer, and your natural gas usage will go to almost zero (I did – it works great).

    YOU can make this ugly, vicious divorce battle between the City and Xcel a moot point – just follow all the existing effiiency recommendations, and there will be nothing to fight about (I am net-positive electric, so no one is fighting over me!)

    So what is really "rotten in the People's Republic of Boulder"? I would say:

    1. We don't actually do anything for the environment, because that would require changing our own actions. We'll stop at nothing however, in efforts to feel good about ourselves.

    2. We don't want to change ourselves, even though every spiritual book ever written in the history of earth specifically says to do that – instead we want to pass laws to make other people change.

    3. Narcissism and Spirituality are not to be so confused. The former is easily recognized as the words used always refer to being different, being special, and set up a bad guy who isn't as good as we see ourselves. Spirituality does the opposite – it connects us to ourselves with personal responsibility, and to others by not projecting our own shortcomings onto them.

  2. withered says:

    My biggest problem with the wind thing is that while it reduces CO2 in areas where there is relatively steady wind, that certainly hasn't been the case in the Rockies. Not even close. Using the traditional coal resources to follow ("trim") wind output to meet demand is very inefficient. There are peer reviewed studies that indicate this practice uses more CO2 than simply burning bad ol coal to meet base loads alone rather than use wind in the mix. The papers used thenPRPA and Xcel's coal and gas assets as part of a DOE experiment. Even with the latest combustion monitoring equipment, the CO2 emission outcomes with wind resources were about the same or worse than with coal alone. I know it is hard to grasp for many, but wind has not really made sense as a means of reducing CO2 in the West, ever. Leave wind for the areas it actually works. Thinking it will offset CO2 in Boulder is something that has not stood up to testing yet. And it is but one problem with wind…..

    Boulderites, use vastly less energy. That is a plausible solution. Tilting at windmills just generates smug.

  3. john says:

    you tell him Waylon, good reply john

  4. BBolder says:

    Thank you for you comment Waylon. I'm very pleased you are walking your talk by living a progressive lifestyle; well done. And I am sorry I have offended you and caused you to take my comments personally.

    Regarding "generalizations", please re-read the original post – is the pot calling the kettle black? :-)

    My "real ideas" have already been clearly stated: We are in control of our lives and our outcomes – if we choose to take responsibility. If we instead choose to salute a flag and hate the enemy – whatever "side" that flag may represent – and transfer responsibility to the external figurehead ("well funded shady corporate giants"), our personal growth will not be furthered nor will our environmental goals be accomplished. Banning fracking or GMO's w/o changing one's own behavior quite factually does nothing to reduce that activity, it only transfers the location to someone else's backyard. Corporations are funded by you and I, not by some nefarious shadow organization seen in movies. They only do what we pay them to do.

    Sorry to be a pain Waylon; I just like doing what works, and have never been much of a joiner.

  5. visionforbrilliance says:

    i think that it takes action on a personal level, reaching out to others and large scale action, be it on the streets, or in the government, which, ahem, is us. regardless of what government leads us to believe.

  6. MarkGelband says:

    Waylon – BBolder is far from "conservative," and his comments are not. How about if we deal with facts:

    GMOs on city open space – how many of your readers know that city open space is owned not only in the county but also in surrounding counties – Jefferson and Weld. Why are "city" open space funds being used to purchase land in other counties? 47% of the open space budget is currently being used to pay off debt from purchases. Open Space is house poor. The land is horribly mismanaged and this abdication of responsibility of properly managing the land is why GMOs have been on city open space land for over a decade. If you want a scapegoat, look at PLAN-Boulder, a group that parades around town as a progressive organization and supports some of the most regressive land use, zoning and tax policies, policies that have directly led to land mismanagement, 60,000+ single occupancy vehicles driving here each work day and consequently the sprawl that surrounds us in the Ls. I, too, choose local and organic, etc. etc., but we are a privileged few Waylon, and being ignorant in our "bubble" of privilege is still being ignorant. Because OSMP is so horribly mismanaged, now they are further attacking dog owners and about to restrict our use of open space even further. This is not an environmental issue. It is a mismanagement issue. It exists, as do GMOs on city open space owned in the county, because OSMP is house poor. Only a financial imbecile spends 47% of his or her budget on rent or mortgage…

  7. MarkGelband says:

    Which brings us to Wal-Mart, affordable shopping and affordable housing. The most "conservative" candidate for council in 2011, Tim Johnson, used to say: "how can you have affordable housing without affordable shopping?" More than 60% of the sales receipts at Costco in Louisville are from city of Boulder zip codes. People aren't riding their bikes over Davidson Mesa to go to Costco and get a 48-pack of TP for their families. While the city has downzoned historically diverse housing option neighborhoods – Whittier and Goss-Grove, they have spoken with forked tongues about affordability. If you don't want Wal-Mart, don't shop there. Very simple. I love Target. I'm not purchasing white t-shirts, boxers and socks anywhere else. There was once a Wendy's on Pearl Street. Boulder voted with their dollars, and the community showed it did not want it. I think Boulder is more afraid that the community needs a Wal-Mart because the shopping options for our working class – the few that remain in Boulder, are minimal. We have already created a servant class in Boulder – one that can barely afford to live here or that commutes everyday from more affordable communities. You and I are lucky Waylon. But the servant class, if living in Boulder, is house poor just like OSMP. Years ago, many were floating this idea of only local businesses in Boulder, and I asked the question about Wild Oats. Was Wild Oats still local? Even as a raiding, profiteering national company? I remember when Wild Oats bought Alfalfa's, and they said prices would go down. Yeah right. Same thing happened when they scooped up Crystal Market. The consumer lost. When Whole Foods came to down around this time, it put pressure on Wild Oats. You recently wrote something about the ridiculous prices at the new Alfalfa's and how you wouldn't shop there. The owners are locals, right. Heros in the natural market space? No GMOs in their store blah blah blah. It is also the most overpriced, unfriendly local market in Boulder. Where do we draw the line? I think it has to be with our patronage. But, you and I and a small cadre of other privileged few who live in the "bubble" should we deny others an opportunity for affordability? Walmart or housing options? It's fine, but let's not speak out of both sides of our mouths.

    Which leads directly to those solar panels we both enjoy Waylon. RESA – one of the most, if not the most regressive, taxes in our state, literally has robbed from the poor throughout the state so wealthy white Boulderites like the two of us could make solar panels on our roofs affordable. Between a 30% federal tax rebate and a $25,000 check from Xcel (courtesy of RESA), my PV system has a payback period of about 8-10 years. Without this "generosity" of people who will never be able to afford solar in our lifetimes, Boulder has taken 20-1 the money it has put into RESA out for rooftop solar. That does show our commitment to green energy; it also shows our privilege. And would you or I still have that rooftop PV without the tax rebates and RESA subsidies from Xcel?

    I'm not sure if I could afford to. But one thing I know for certain is that a privileged few Boulder muni has nothing in its models to account for the loss in RESA, the models rely on cheap, fracked natural gas, the models do not make sense economically, and if New Era wants to do something worthwhile on the energy front in the state, then it would be focusing on legislation to open the state's energy markets rather than working to trade one monopoly for another. Xcel is the largest provider of wind energy in the nation – fact. Municipalization does not add one kWh of local, renewable energy to the grid. Wind farms are already being built in southeastern Colorado where they make sense.

    We can discuss further, but the "decline to sign" initiative is nothing but ironic coming from a group that just worked to allow same-day voter registration and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds. New Era continues to claim that the muni vote wouldn't have had the numbers if not for their efforts registering young, naive first-time voters in Boulder. Why are they now so afraid of a new Boulder voter opening the dialogue on whether the city should have to live within a budget? On whether 10,000 effected county voters should have a chance to be heard? Anyone who continues to believe that a small muni will be more affordable, provide more renewable energy and be more reliable has not been paying attention.

    The fact is – if you are against fracking, then you should be soundly against the models the city has built for municipalization as they rely on decades and decades of cheap, fracked natural gas.

    Just like the right wing kooks have co-opted the language of the left – turning words like feminism and liberalism into pejoratives, local Boulder pseudo-progressive activists have tried to paint anyone who questions the regressive policies of our tony little hamlet as being conservative. Please. Look around – we are enacting silly rich, white people rules for dare I say: "silly rich white people." I have a FastTracks train to catch down at Boulder Junction where the city put a historic train station at a bend in the curve where a train that will never come couldn't stop anyway.

  8. Fennybergs says:

    Yes, Xcel is the largest provider of wind energy in the nation. But, they're still supplying 80% of the grid with fossil fuels. While the planet continues to heat up, I think it's well within the right of a community to want to take stronger action on doing something to set an example of how we can fight global warming. You question if municipalization will increase renewables for Boulder, but it's just not a winning argument. The charter states that Boulder isn't allowed to move forward unless if it increases renewables and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to Xcel. And I appreciate that you're a skeptic, but if there's one thing that Boulder has shown time and time again it's that we care about clean energy. The only way to prove your skepticism wrong is when we actually do move forward and do something great for our community and planet.

    And, seriously, please stop attacking New Era Colorado. I'm not going to apologize for engaging new people in the democratic process and helping them find a voice. The reason why we're against Phil Fox being a new resident and being active is because he's a puppet of Xcel Energy. You can deny it and call me naive, but I will put money on the fact that he's going to be paid by the so-called issue committee he's formed (that, I assure you, is funded by Xcel). Just check his background–he's been paid by campaign operatives to be a "spokesperson" for the oil and gas industry and the gambling industry in the past.

    The fact of the matter is that this initiative has nothing to do with "living within a budget." It's about Xcel derailing the process so that they can protect their $100 million in revenue they make off of Boulder each and every year. I don't blame them for putting up a fight. But I do take issue with the Boulder citizens that are standing up and defending that behavior of a major corporation to control our local democracy.

    The county voters having a chance to be heard? I don't remember the county voters approving a franchise agreement with Xcel before. I don't remember them complaining about being provided clean drinking water by the city water utility. The county voters will have significantly more representation on a municipal utility board than at the PUC or at the ballot box. But I guess that's not as sexy as a soundbite as what Xcel is feeding them.

  9. Fennybergs says:

    A young person being engaged in the democratic process for the first time is very different from a paid political operative who seems to be willing to be a spokesperson for whoever pays him/her. Disagreeing with me doesn't make someone a shill for Xcel. But being paid by Xcel probably would, wouldn't it?

    If you think a municipal utility won't result in more renewable energy, then why do you think the city is interested in doing it?

    And thanks for lauding our work on same day registration, preregistration, and relationship equality. I've never heard or seen you do that, but I'll take your word for it.

  10. Dave says:

    Please keep fighting the good fight, Waylon. You're a good man. Consider it tweeted.

  11. Hillary says:

    Seriously – if you live in Boulder County you should at least be aware of these issues and know where you stand and why.
    Suffering usually comes from ignorance. So get informed about these important issues that will effect your health, your wallet, and your beautiful environment.
    Thanks Waylon for starting the dialog, providing useful links and always your direct, no nonsense opinion which creates a starting point for dialog.
    Can you create an info graphic (or many) that explains the above article- maybe some people will find that easier to digest. Will help :) – Hillary

  12. elephantjournal says:

    Many more comments on reddit.com/r/boulder, where this post has been top-voted for a week now:
    [–]saurasaurus 16 points 2 days ago

    As for GMO's, I think some definition is in order. what is meant? Transgenic? Mutated by chemicals or radiation? Gmo's are a slippery catch-all, and it is hard to take an important topic seriously when 'the movement' cant decide what it means…

    Go for transparency and disclosure. Go for better oversight and testing…its a joke now. Go for better patent law. But seriously…the arguments against GMOs sounds hollow and hicky in Its current naive state. The real issues are environmental effects, testing, disclosure, and law.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 2 points 1 day ago

    I'm all for GMOs and, and most opponents are, if they can be shown to be safe before, not after.

    Secondly, patenting food…that's just dangerous. As is the increasingly homogenous food supply (see Irish famine).

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    [–]saurasaurus 3 points 1 day ago

    But…what are GMO's? We've been making GMO's since before Mendel. The 20th century simply was more intense, with overt mutagenic means, and then developed into outright intentional transgenic means.

    Come up with a rational framework for environmental safety, let people choose, and don't let the patent holders complain when they pollute adjacent genetic stocks.

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    [–]obvom 4 points 1 day ago

    No we haven't. Breeding techniques like Mendel used utilized vertical gene transfer. GMO technology as is being debated in the media uses horizontal gene transfer, which does occur in nature to an extent, but not to the extent that GMO tech makes possible e.g. salmon DNA in a tomato.

  13. elephantjournal says:

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    [–]saurasaurus 5 points 1 day ago

    You are speaking to transgenics, then. If that is what is meant by GMO, then say it. But what about essentially random mutations (radiation, mutagenic chemicals, etc) and selection that were behind the majority of commercially significant food crops prior to transgenic technology? Do they need review as well? would you consider them to be GMO's as well? They are the product of neither 'vertical' or 'horizontal' gene transfer, as you put it. Yet they are responsible for several widespread varieties of drought resistant corn and soybeans, peppers, large eggplants, innumerable rice varieties, and other crops. A few of them also have environmental side effects (increases in selenium concentration, very different nutritional profiles for insects, etc). GMO extends the ability to go directly after specific traits far faster, but it's not cut and dried…

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    [–]obvom 2 points 1 day ago

    You can't get a salmon protein into a tomato through the natural mutation process you are referring to. I was simply referring to Mendel's process, which utilized vertical gene transfer.

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    [–]saurasaurus 3 points 1 day ago

    …and I was referring to the fact you only address 'transgenic' GMO's, when humans also do a lot of mutagenic GMO's.

    Again, the real focus should be food and environmental safety, not really GMO's per se.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 1 point 1 day ago

    A rational framework: agree on that point, saurasaurus. But as you know food companies are pushing against, and throwing against, transparent labeling which is even more basic than a "rational framework for safety."

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    [–]saurasaurus 2 points 1 day ago

    I do know this. Oversight and transparency is the enemy of a lot of the things that ail us in modern life. We should be mandating transparency and requiring folks to show efficacy and that they 'do no harm'. Banning GMO's will not effect the ends that people want.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 1 point 1 day ago

    Amen. I don't think we need to ban, but to ensure long-term safety and transparency. Thanks for your comments!

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    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 2 days ago

    I don't think that a municipally owned utility will mean a greener one…municipally owned utilities are exempt from some of the provisions of environmental regulations, and if other examples are to be any guide, they tend to use those loopholes. I would not automatically expect Boulder would be any different. Wind power doesn't really reduce carbon emissions the way most people firmly believe…despite the science. And small, local businesses generally offer many of the same cheap goods from China, for more $$, than one might find at, say, a Walmart. As for why the local economy surfed through thenrecession, the answer is in large government employment and educational expenditures. This nugget has been hashed out endlessly, and definitively, by economists all over Colorado. As for fracking, use zoning regulations, home rule, and transparency laws….the outrage from disclosure of what we (we meaning all of us, when we burn fossil fuels) want to inject into the ground would be astounding.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 6 points 1 day ago

    We voted to study whether it could be 1) cheaper and 2) greener while being 3) dependable, stable. So we only proceed if studies meet criteria. It's likely that we'd go through Xcel anyways, we'd just have more leverage.

  14. elephantjournal says:

    [–]saurasaurus 2 points 1 day ago

    I think cheaper is a real possibility. Greener? How, exactly? More gas means less CO2 and more fracking and more methane release. As for leverage, there is none. The savings by municipally owned power is not generally realized through leverage…Boulder is a smallish town surrounded by larger ones, without generating resources of its own. Do the studies…and perhaps realize actual cost reductions by moving forward. But don't think it's going to be greener.

    Wind in Colorado has not been shown to be greener than coal, or even gas, alone. PV has some problems too, although not as dubious as wind. The best source of clean, renewable energy in Boulder is simply using vastly less energy in the first place. That isn't something that folks are fixated on at all in Boulder, and that's the problem. A program to enclurage people to use, say, half the household energy and half the automotive emissions will have the greatest impact on fracking and oil imports of anything yet suggested.

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    [–]srmatto[!] 2 points 1 day ago

    Wind in Colorado has not been shown to be greener than coal, or even gas, alone.

    You got some sauce on that?

  15. elephantjournal says:

    [–]saurasaurus 4 points 1 day ago
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/201
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/89476/
    http://www.uwig.org/11M-710E_WindInducedCoalPlant

    I was incidentally involved with the Colorado study. What is not disclosed in the paper given (and PSCO refused to disclose) is that the heat rate (amount of coal and gas input for each kWh output) increased over the study, and that the increases either wiped out the wind power reductions or were worse.

    Why did they refuse to disclose? Valuable subsidies and REC markets. It's just business. It's the way things work.

    Very disappointing, for me personally, and for the prospects for wind power in general in the West. Wind here is simply too variable to efficiently use coal or gas to 'trim', or 'level' the inputs to the grid. It works really well in areas where the winds are more consistent, even where the wind generation potential is much lower.

    There are other impacts to wind generation as well…the use of rare earth elements over the life of the facility is orders of magnitude larger for wind generation than for coal or gas. Rare earth element processing is so polluting it isn't even done in the US…despite 'economic' quantities present in a few areas. It becomes 'uneconomic' or downright prohibited as soon as mitigation efforts are taken into consideration. The demand for rare earth elements is a glaring NIMBY market…and it is one that needs to be solved.

    If storage technologies were to improve, and variable reluctance or other generation technology to become viable, wind stands a chance in the West. Until then, it is wishful thinking…or smug.

  16. elephantjournal says:

    [–]DeviatedNorm 1 point 1 day ago

    I'm not confident this is the source they were referencing, but it appears to support their claims somewhat: http://www.bentekenergy.com/files/userfiles/file/

    Note: This isn't "wind power alone" but "wind power causes coal power to be even dirtier than it would be without wind power".

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    [–]srmatto[!] 2 points 1 day ago

    Hmmm

    "BENTEK Energy® is an energy market analytics company, providing data-driven research and deep market understanding to our clients. We are a recognized leader in natural gas, oil and NGL market fundamental analysis." -http://www.bentekenergy.com

    I'm a little skeptical that they're unbiased.

    According to source watch they are a member of Western Energy Alliance which is "a Denver, Colorado-based oil and gas drilling trade and lobbying group funded by 400 independent natural gas and oil producers, service and supply companies, banking and financial institutions and industry consultants." -SourceWatch

    So yeah, I will need more than that one study to be convinced that somehow electric turbines driven by wind are dirtier than coal and gas which both use turbines as part of the process but with much more crapola heaped on top.

    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 1 day ago

    Meh. Fine. Everything is a conspiracy then. I've seen the numbers. I know a few of the (very) nerdy, interested engineers who worked pretty damned hard to figure out why things were not working out better. The results were disappointing to them, and to me personally. I really don't care how the corporations feel about the numbers…I just care what they actually are.

    Until you've seen how a coal boiler works up close, I can see why your intuition is assaulted by the reality. But really- do some research. See if you can take a tour. But don't chalk it all up to conspiracies. The results were not fully anticipated by the smart nerdy folks who wanted to make this happen.

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    [–]srmatto[!] -1 points 1 day ago

    I'm sorry, do you know me? Where did I allege that everything is a conspiracy? Calm down fellah.

    I think its important, no matter what the outcome of some paper or study to examine its sources. One of my favorite and best professors taught me that. It's not our job to cling to false ideas wether they support our ideas or not. Its about finding the truth, and sometimes it sucks. Like this time.

    So now wind is out. Forgive me if I didn't jump on the first comment that came forward and accept it as truth. Thats a tough pill to swallow, that wind power is detrimental.

    Maybe don't be so reactionary next time somebody offers up a possible criticism?
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    [–]saurasaurus 2 points 1 day ago

    You are right. It is always good to examine credibility. Sorry.

    It does smart a bit when you see the numbers, you see the work that went into trying to make it happen, and the results go completely ignored because everyone is so convinced the dominant paradigm has the right story. The real story here is actually two stories: First, wind is not so great in many cases here in the west. Second, power companies are in the business of making money, and they make a lot of money selling false promises (REC's) to a customer base that doesn't know or care to know the facts.

    As for conspiracies, etc., it stings to see Treehugger, Grist, etc., eat up the dominant paradigm (wind perfect, coal bad bad) so uncritically. I try to believe that the right information will drive the best policy (geez, maybe even drive to fix the problems with wind even, for example), and my time on earth has taught me they are not as well connected as I imagined they were.

  17. elephantjournal says:

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    [–]srmatto[!] 1 point 1 day ago

    Well people want a solution to the big problem of global warming and they don't seem to care how it happens as long as it gets fixed. This is my perception anyways.

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    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 1 day ago

    If you want to make wind work, trim the output with something other than coal. They currently do this with water from Flaming Gorge, but this is the American West, and there is less water to trim with every year.

    You can use gas, but then you are begging and pleading for more fracking- a lot more. And the GHG emissions from fracked fields are under scrutiny as it becomes clear that methane emissions are shockingly higher in fracked fields than unfracked fields or undeveloped fields.

    You need people to use their power differently…in quantity and when they use it. These items have never, and will probably never be on the agenda for municipalization or the greater Boulder green energy platform unfortunately.

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    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 1 day ago

    Yeah. This is one of the studies. Another larger study showed even worse results. The Colorado facilities are relatively newer, and at least two of the plants had the latest on combustion sensor technology to address very difficult problems of combustion control during load changes. The other stud used very old plants without these advantages.

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    [–]markgelband 3 points 1 day ago

    And what over $5M in taxpayer money now shows is that 1) cheaper is highly unlikely; 2) greener is a dream and the model is built on the ongoing availability of cheap, fracked natural gas and not 1kWh of local, renewable energy; and stable/dependable is largely dependent in our region on undergrounding. Look around – as with most things "progressive" in Boulder, only the toniest neighborhoods have underground infrastructure, and there is nothing in Boulder's models that show funds for further undergrounding of lines.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 2 points 1 day ago

    M! Good to see you here. So what's your alternative suggestion?

    And how do you get to that $5M?

    Finally, you can't think that Xcel is devoted to 1) keeping costs low for us or 2) pushing sustainability? Like Comcast, its dominance is bad business.

    PS: I commented below in some more depth, if you care to look, down there…the original comment is below threshold so you have to bring it up.

    [–]Iriestx 0 points 1 day ago

    The last place I lived had a government-run power company that was a monopoly. I paid $0.72 a kilowatt hour and the service was beyond horrible.

    No thanks to expensive, incompetent, unaccountable, government-run utilities.

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    [–]saurasaurus 3 points 1 day ago

    Hawaii (probably what you are talking about) is a black hole. Across the country, municipalization saves consumers around 10% on average. Some less, some more.

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    [–]weebx 3 points 1 day ago

    I'm with this guy. Austin (where I come from) has a city-run utilities system. One day they decided to relocate some data (their words), and somehow my account got charged over $5,000. Since I had auto-withdrawal set up with my bills, they took over 5 grand from me and didn't even correct it. I didn't know until my bank notified me, which ended up costing me almost $100 in over drafting fees. It took me dozens of phone calls and 2 months for the utilities company to refund my money, and they refused to cover my overdraft fee. Why not? Probably because they are a monopoly and can do whatever they want.

    TLDR: my experience with city-run utilities was absolutely dreadful.

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    [–]DeviatedNorm 1 point 1 day ago

    Did you happen to move before 2002? Austin has a handful of Retail Electric Providers (REPs) available since the deregulation of Texas energy markets in 2002. Tara Energy I know is available there. I believe that both Champion and Green Mountain serve Austin as well.

    Anyway, the alternative to a state-run utility is variability in the marketplace. It was either 2004 or 2006 that I remember seeing ERCOT reporting prices of 1000-3000/mWh (for comparison, it's usually 10-15/mWh).

  18. elephantjournal says:

    [–]weebx 1 point 1 day ago

    Hmm, no it was recent. I was renting a condo, so I had no choice.

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    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 1 day ago

    Mine is fine (PRPA, which is what Boulder wants to become in some ways). I pay about the same as the lowest tier Xcel customer pays just 50 yards away from my home, and about 30% less than they pay per kWh month to month due to tier stepping. PRPA customers pay the lowest rates in the region. It is a municipally owned cooperative (Longmont, Ft Collins, Loveland, Greeley, etc).

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    [–]meanwhileincali 1 point 1 day ago

    Ha! Fellow ex-Austinite now-Boulderite here. I had the same problem with the electric company. I moved out of a house into an apartment near Zilker and the electric company kept billing me for the house. I called 6 times, every time they said, "Hmmm, yeah, I can see where you requested the shutoff on your move out day…weird…I'll take care of it."

    I finally had to get a supervisor on the phone. They finally fixed it, but they still decided to bill me $7 for some reason. I was happy to pay it to be rid of them once and for all.

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    [–]Assumer 2 points 1 day ago

    No thanks to expensive, incompetent, unaccountable, government-run utilities.

    That sounds bad, but I'm quite happy with my cheap and reliable Longmont electric and hopefully soon some fiber optic internet as well.

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    [–]EarlobeAnalProbe -16 points 2 days ago*

    Yeah god forbid something happens that the elite rich whites don't like or serves the interests of those few dirty brown poors still left in town.

    AN AFFORDABLE PLACE TO SHOP! HEATING YOUR HOME GETS CHEAPER! REGRESSIVE TAXES DON'T DOUBLE AND UTILITY RATES DON'T GO UP FOR THE MEANINGLESSS "SUSTAINABILITY" BUZZWORD!

    OMG THE HORROR!

    Let's just keep jacking up sales taxes and invent new regressive bullshit like bag fees for years on end and build more unaffordable mixed use glass eyesores everywhere and drive off all these gross places that serve cheap food and then we can FINALLY run all these disgusting poor brown people out of town once and for all.

  19. elephantjournal says:

    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 15 points 2 days ago

    Amen to your basic point, but this isn't about equality, and you don't have to be racist to support banning fracking etc…that's a pretty offensive strawman, my anal friend.

    This is about corporatism. Municipalization has been shown to be able to save money while bringing more jobs here (you can't outsource solar installation). Fracking is hardly about benefiting locals, and generally harms the health those who live and work in rural areas most. Those rich whites you're talking about love to spend money locally, and at farmers market–the resurgence of farms here in the past 15 years, when only a few were left, is a testament to that. Those glass eyesores (and I agree on that point) fund one of the best affordable housing programs in the country, thanks to our voters (not the developers), and mixed used is generally a plus, as opposed to strip malls.

    As for Wal-Mart, there's already a dozen such big box stores within a short drive (Costco, Sam's Club, Best Buy etc), and Walmart (as has been reported on Reddit this week) leans heavily on taxpayers, paying its employees poorly, with weak benefits. Protecting small, local businesses keeps dollars in the local economy, which is one reason we survived the recession so well.

    Sustainability as a buzzword is (often worse than) meaningless, sure—but climate change has caused the pine beetle's expansion, locally, which has harmed many who live on cheaper land in the mountains. Bike-ability makes it easier and cheaper to get around, and energysmart programs help us save money on our utilities—all good for middle and low-income families.

    Your knee-jerk reaction may be inaccurate—but the inspiration behind it, to support all citizens, not just the rich, is one I and most of us will agree with.

    My mom raised me here (before the real estate boom), we were too poor to have a car, tv or be able to keep our home, but I got a solid education and there's a reason folks want to live here, and move here, and businesses want to locate here. And I think most of that is worth protecting, and I see that much of that is being challenged, right now, by big money that could give a shit about any of us.

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    [–]DeviatedNorm 3 points 1 day ago

    As for Wal-Mart, there's already a dozen such big box stores within a short drive

    As someone who used to live in North Boulder, none of those were a short drive. And they're ridiculously long bus rides. Once the KMart left, it was a long drive to any sort of big box store. This Walmart location is the only of its kind anywhere near the north half of town — we didn't have a suburb just a couple minutes away to drive to.

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    [–]saurasaurus 1 point 1 day ago

    Anytime you hear the word "Sustainability", grab your wallet and turn up the headphones. It's meaningless. "Pseustanability" is really what the word is about.

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    [–]ClydeDog 2 points 1 day ago

    Well said, but don't waste your time trying to reason with that jackass.

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    [–]EarlobeAnalProbe -1 points 1 day ago

    You're just adorable in that you think poor people have the choice to make that drive to Costco. You really have no idea what it's like to be poor do you?

    Aside from that I feel where you're coming from.

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    [–]heartbraden 4 points 1 day ago

    If you live in Boulders city limits then neither do you.

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    [–]edwardrmurrow[S] 1 point 1 day ago

    "I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me." -Dudley Field

    I appreciate most of your points, especially those I disagree with. (I could do with a little less condescension, but I know you're having fun).

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    [–]lofi76 6 points 2 days ago

    You seem shitty.

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    [–]ClydeDog 5 points 1 day ago

    Instead of trying to actually have an intelligent conversation with someone you disagree with, you resort to typing in caps and creating logical fallacies that do nothing to prove your point. I would love to hear different opinions in this sub, but you just come off as a raving idiot. You do make me laugh though, thanks for that.

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    [–]notalitterer 6 points 2 days ago

    This subreddit would be so much better without you.

  20. elephantjournal says:

    [–]FavRage -3 points 2 days ago

    You're right a completely one sided stereotypical boulder circlejerk is what makes a good subreddit.

    You would have to be at least somewhat delusional to think that a large portion of the anti walmart etc… movement isn't fueled by upper-class wealthy democrats/left leaning folks.

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    [–]combatwombat42 6 points 1 day ago

    I dont think most people here have a problem with his disagreement, it's with his kneejerk automatic agumentitive reactionary disagreement.

  21. Mark Hastings says:

    Haha…. poor Boulder. poor poor Boulder. The solution is simple. More taxes and more government control……

    Have fun!

  22. bakaliftindia2013 says:

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