Xcel Energy seeks to buy the votes of Boulder, Colorado.

Via on Jul 20, 2013

Xcel Energy: “A Major Corporation Masquerading as a Fake Organization to have Serious Influence over our Electoral Process for their Financial Gain.”

Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis: Steve Fenberg of New Era Colorado.

“Believe” in Climate Change? There’s nothing more important than green energy. Boulder, Colorado, voted to get more green energy. Xcel, the corporation, spent heavily to try and convince voters otherwise…and lost. Now, Xcel has funded a shady front group to try and undo Boulder’s vote. Here’s how we can help.

“There’s a lot at stake. This isn’t just about if one community can create an electric utility…This is about the future of our planet, the future of our community, the future of us. And being able to have control over that future.”


Go home, Xcel. Decline to sign!

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5 Responses to “Xcel Energy seeks to buy the votes of Boulder, Colorado.”

  1. Mark Gelband says:

    Mark Gelband Waylon – here is a point by point:

    The first problem is the way you and the pro munis continue to frame the question as a classic either or fallacy. This is by no means the "community activists" vs. "corporate greed"; us vs. them, green vs. Xcel, city vs. Xcel or any of the numerous either or fallacies that have been thrown out. It is intellectually lazy and insulting. Many green activists understand that we do NOT have to be boxed in to these two illogical choices. Because both those choices ARE the status quo. Both choices presented to us are using antiquated lines and poles, a retail electric model that is horribly outdated. They are also not the only two choices even though you and others continue to repeat this pap as though it were the truth. I am happy to discuss many of the other options beyond us vs. them.

    2) While you implore Trevor Holmes to "read your links," you (and many of the pro-muni faithful) continue to deny relative truths, and it is clear you did not read the link I provided or you would not make a false claim that burning natural gas is cleaner than coal. Again, don't take my word for it. Read the piece by a well-respected scientist whose field is fracking. This is no global warming denier. He is a green activist – and someone who understands the lie that natural gas does not represent a safe "transition fuel". The methane off gassing from fracking – say nothing of the water impacts, are a far greater disaster in the making than clean coal (though that is not tantamount to me supporting the status quo at all). It makes no logical sense to be anti-fracking and support the city's plan that relies largely on cheap, fracked natural gas. Can you reconcile this? How do you?

    3) Your third point is another either/or fallacy, but points to another of the pro-muni talking points – local control. Before I address that, I think again it is narrow minded to ignore that Xcel is the largest wind provider of any retail electric purveyor – private or muni – in the nation. Its mix of renewables rivals Germany, a country many green activists point to as a model. I don't necessarily agree that we cannot do better with local control, but I disagree that we have to invest half a billion dollars for 19th century lines and poles and not 1kWh more of local, renewable energy to be smarter. Local control of half a billion community dollars should not be invested in a dying model. Please also read the EEI institutes paper on "Disruptive Challenges" in the retail electric business. The city getting in the retail electric business necessitates it selling electricity at a "profit." That "profit" will be used to pay back bond holders (investors) who are holding $500,000,000 over the city to pay back for lines and poles.

    Why can't we invest that money in modern electricity technology – rooftop PV, solar thermal, micro-wind generation, storage, micro-transmission technologies etc? Nothing is keeping us from doing that except hubris and an infantile lack of imagination about what can be. Control for control's sake is the mindset of an abuser in an abusive relationship. It is exactly what Xcel is fighting like – and both the city and Xcel have failed and are abusive.

  2. mark gelband says:

    Recent city debacles – Putting Boulder Junction – a transit village – at a bend in the tracks where a train that won't come couldn't stop anyway?

    The CAP tax has performed 20x worse than predicted according to the city's own data.

    $167 million dollar backlog in critical infrastructure neglect.

    A host of competing and convoluted land use and zoning rules that have directly contributed to our biggest environmental fail – 60,000 plus single occupancy vehicles commuting here everyday. These rules also disallow solar in front and sideyard setbacks, and new international fire code rules about to be adopted will reduce rooftop space for solar installations by almost half. Where were all the pro-muni rah, rahs to speak up about this travesty? Only myself and Namaste solar showed up to talk about it at a Planning Board meeting. How come the city isn't publicizing this?

    The city claimed before the election that we would have no stranded costs because we do not have a 20-year franchise agreement. Wrong. Then they claimed we wouldn't have stranded costs because we will continue to buy power from Xcel as a wholesale buyer. Not quite right. Now the city's plan is to buy outdated infrastructure and energy from Xcel for up to a decade to mitigate stranded costs. How does buying Xcel's power for up to a decade do anything other than feed the hubris associated with "we need to show the world" – Mayor Appelbaum. So many places are way ahead of us, and they realize they do not need to be a muni to do so. The city has over spent just in the study period, taking over a $1 million this year alone from the general fund?

    The worst though is the inherent economic and common sense dichotomy of getting in the retail electric business while wanting to push demand management, get people to mitigate use – the best bang for the buck anywhere! Again this is intellectually lazy. If we have to sell kWhs, to pay back a half a billion in debt, how can we simultaneously tell people with a straight face to cut back use? This is how it worked with our water rates. City put people on water budgets and asked for conservation. People comply and use less water. City raises rates – punitive action – because less water use leads to less revenue. This is fact. It is the rationale the city used for its last water rate increase, one of 12 rate increases for water in 13 years. Rate increases that were three times higher than Xcel's rate increases for energy for what is virtually a free resource to the city (senior water rights).

    I didn't mention my energy commitment to say "hah;" rather, I want you – and your vast social network to know – that my constructive questioning comes from someone walking the talk – committed to a real solution. I am tired of leaders who talk public transportation who have never taken a bus to commute, who talk pops and scrapes and mcmansions and have popped and scraped and built and live in mcmansions, and who talk renewable energy and cannot make the investment themselves before they commit half a billion dollars of other people's money.

    I reached out to Fenberg privately to address these and other issues. He has not responded. I have not heard a credible answer from Leslie Glustrom, Ken Regelson, Tom Asprey or the host of other pro-muni "activists" about any of these or many other reasonable questions. Including the issues above. Maybe you or your other reliable sources will honestly address those and these questions. And I honestly ask your social network to consider these.

    What prevents us from bonding and forming a green energy technology investment and lease-back business to rapidly deploy MWs of rooftop PV, solar thermal, geothermal, biomass generation, storage and micro-transmission? This approach allows the advantage of getting state and federal tax rebates, and Xcel solar rebates – money on the table to help pay for our green investments?

    Why exactly must we buy Xcel's outdated and overpriced lines, poles and substations to make smarter decisions?

    Why are we demonizing "corporate Xcel" and ignoring the fact that as a muni we will have a host of other private, for profit partners to run the system, to buy energy from?

    How do you honestly put demand management in place and expect to not raise rates to cover revenue shortfalls?

    When did a wind farm in Lamar, CO become local generation? Is Lamar a suburb of Boulder? Is investment there helping our local economy? Please.

    How is the status quo retail model not the status quo? It's not leading anything. Denton, Tx has been doing this for years?

    What about credible data on fracking and methane off-gassing? How do we with a straight face support fracked natural gas as the cornerstone of our plan? Joke.

    How do we invest in rapidly changing technology when we are saddled with half a billion in debt for above ground wires and poles?

  3. Mark Gelband says:

    How come New Era isn't actively lobbying for community choice aggregation the way it has lobbied for civil unions (thanks for that advocacy)?

    Why is New Era fighting the citizens ballot initiative – the same company that was paid to collect signatures collected them for marijuana legalization? What happened to an individual's responsibility to read before they sign? So New Era comes up with two-people who saw two low-paid signature collectors not accurately represent the ballot. That happens in every paid signature campaign even the ones New Era has supported. Hypocrisy! (As a journalist I respect, don't you have a duty to disclose that you are on the Board of New Era and have a vested interest in what he says and how he plays politics?)

    Yes, I read the NYT piece on our city's muni exploration. Fair piece that just reports about our attempts. Makes none of the wildly inaccurate claims the city has made these past three years. I have followed this issue closely since 2005 when the city commissioned RW Beck for $250,000 to do the city's first in-depth analysis of forming a muni. Funny how that report has disappeared from the city's pro-muni marketing site. it painted a much more circumspect picture of municipalization than the paid mouthpieces the city has hired to support its more recent efforts.

    Will you give me the same courtesy of a thoughtful reply? Did you read the Beck study? The NYT article I cited. The EEI study. I hope you too will actually address the points I raise rather than repeat the canned pap the city and its proponents have been using to sell their either/or fallacy. Your show is called "Walk the Talk." Maybe one day you'll invite me to share how people can go off grid for a small investment with a combination of PV, solar thermal, micro-wind, storage and a good bio-diesel generator. You know – someone who does "Walk the Talk," and even has some experience commuting via bus before I chime on about public transportation systems…

    • elephantjournal says:

      Hi Mark, thank you for your comments! We'd actually love for your to share your expertise with our readers! Consider submitting an article! Cheers, Sara

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