Past issue archives: starting with most recent, back to late 2009. It’s not a matter of we’re going to pass things by each other.”, The language in the agreement is loose. After several rounds of back-and-forth scheduling emails, eventually the three did meet, on Jan. 9, 2020 — Yates and Jackson at a restaurant in Boulder, while Weaver, who was sick at the time, called in. We were having conversations, we were speaking with Xcel, but we never shared anything of substance until a few weeks before we had the hearing about whether to put it on the ballot. Agreement that the PUC orders from Sept. 14, 2017 and Oct. 28 stand and apply to separation of the system if the city pursues municipalization in the future. And when Doyle Albee, head of Boulder-based MAPR Agency, told Yates in an email he supports the efforts to get the franchise agreement on the ballot and is willing to help, Yates responded by encouraging Albee to join a “strategic advisory committee” for the campaign. But I have just seen enough of Xcel that I don’t trust them,” Glustrom says. Boulder voters have passed a measure that will enter the city into a new franchise agreement with Xcel Energy, according to unofficial results from the Boulder County Clerk’s Office. And when asking what those are, they talk about nuclear energy and they talk about carbon capture and sequestration and things like that,” Fenberg says. The pandemic and subsequent financial limitations presented an opportune time for a compromise to be struck between the City and Xcel, even if none of the parties involved explicitly framed it that way. “And frankly, the state doesn’t give cities an alternative. By passing the franchise agreement, voters also approved a new partnership between the city and Xcel Energy. For many years, the city had a franchise agreement with Xcel—this agreement granted Xcel the right to use the streets and rights-of-way in Boulder as part of providing utility services. I think the answer’s always yes,” he says. Voters approved a new franchise agreement with Xcel Energy in November 2020. According to emails BW obtained, there were some back-and-forth conversations between Jackson and City Attorney Carr about the timeline for citizen-initiated petitions in relation to when Xcel files its climate registry report. Because Yates had requested that language, and because he previously worked for Level 3 Communications, from which members spun out to create Zayo Group, which recently was awarded a broadband contract in Boulder, and because Yates lists only “dividends” on his financial disclosure document, we asked if he would stand to benefit financially in any way from municipal broadband, or if he had stock in Zayo. “They can contest the opt-out on emissions. MAPR eventually helped launch the pro-2C campaign website after the majority of Council voted to put it on the ballot on Aug. 20. All emails between Bob Yates and employees of Xcel energy, all emails between Sam Weaver and employees of Xcel Energy and all emails between Tom Carr and employees of Xcel energy, from July 1, 2019 to present. However, Wallach was concerned about an uptick in the politicking around the negotiations in August, on the part of Xcel. What is that in this case, what is good enough that the voters should be allowed to decide for themselves?”. Voters approved a new franchise agreement with Xcel Energy in November 2020. By passing the franchise agreement, voters also approved a new partnership between the city and Xcel Energy. In a Tuesday joint news release from the city and private power provider Xcel about public officials’ years-long interest in forming a municipal electric service, the company and Boulder … After 2022, the team will meet at least twice per year. Weaver says this level of input was unique, because this partnership is unique, given that Xcel is a monopoly and Boulder partners with it to provide electricity whether in franchise agreement or not. You’ve got to shut down your coal plants. Leslie Glustrom, a long-time muni advocate and PUC watchdog, adds that having both Weaver and Toor, both long seen as progressive energy leaders in Boulder, in support of the franchise could have made it seem more appealing. 2655 N 63rd St Boulder, CO 80301. Perhaps the biggest selling point of the franchise agreement is that Boulder, somehow, is going to be able to be able to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 due to shifting attitudes about microgrids and distribution system planning from Xcel. In his view, it gives Boulder a seat at the table, where it previously didn’t have one, and a pathway to meet the City’s 100% renewable energy goal by preserving its right to lobby at the statehouse for solutions like CCE. Fenberg says, too, that “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure” Xcel can’t count wholesale energy clients that no longer buy energy from Xcel (but which still burn fossil fuels) toward its carbon reduction goal. © 2021 City of Boulder | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | About | Admin, 1777 Broadway, Boulder CO 80302 | 303-441-3388, 42% reduction: 19.5 million tons emitted (actual), 52% reduction: 16.6 million tons emitted (target), 61% reduction: 13.6 million tons emitted (target), 67% reduction: 11.5 million toms emitted (target), 80% reduction: 6.9 million tons emitted (requirement), Elimination or substantial increase of the state’s 120% limitation on on-site generation, Development of a new tariff to facilitate the rapid conversion of bus fleets to electric busses, Removal of barriers to large amounts of local distributed generation, Facilitation of energy solutions at Chautauqua and Alpine Balsam, The cost agreement will be set aside unless the city reinitiates municipalization, Xcel will complete in-progress design work and stop future municipalization work, Xcel will release letters of credit in the amounts of $1.7 million and $2.6 million. 0. … And I thought this was a pretty good deal. And that’s the whole thing: a commitment to try is no commitment at all.”. Together, the documents and our conversations depict a clearer, if not definitive, timeline of the City’s and Xcel’s negotiations. “The big goal here is not to get Boulder to 100% renewables. That is still being finalized before the company is required to present its energy resource plan to state regulators at the PUC in March 2021. Although Weaver did vote to put the agreement on the ballot, he did not take a side for or against ballot measure 2C. Undergrounding helps improve system reliability. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind. Still, given all of the City’s messaging before the election on this agreement about how much the City extracted out of Xcel, there still isn’t much that’s going to push the energy giant toward sustainability more than what the state is already requiring it to do. It included City staff members within the Climate Initiatives department, Steve Catanach and Jonathan Koehn, along with other Xcel employees. A good example of such complementing efforts is the Xcel Energy Boulder County government tandem of rebates and tax credits that rewards efforts of Colorado residents and business owners to improve energy use and also recognize the important choice made by those who prefer renewable energy sources over fossil fuel use. So it does leave the door open for that.”. Specifically, Boulder and Xcel will work together to achieve 100% renewables by 2030 and eliminate electricity-sector emissions. Time will only tell if Xcel can and will meet its emission reduction targets, and in a way that helps Boulder achieve its 100% renewable energy goals by 2030. As Jennings was stepping into her new role as Xcel Energy Inc.’s (NYSE: XEL) Boulder area manager, local residents were voting on how they wanted to … So, what happens if the City claims Xcel hasn’t met its targets and Xcel says it has? “I felt as soon as there was something that was substantive and material and interesting to disclose, it was disclosed,” Yates says. The “discussions” outlined in the notes were about distribution systems planning, Yates says. “And so we apologized, we learned from it and we’re moving forward.”. Toor’s involvement also added clout to the 2C campaign, she says. Since Colorado is a regulated state, customers have no choice in who provides them with power. “Some of the collaboration around network planning and grid modernization that Alice and Sam discussed at the Jan. 9 meeting sounded potentially expensive to me and so I may have been considering whether it would be necessary to ask the voters for funding for that,” Yates says. The court granted Xcel Energy’s motion to dismiss the city's condemnation filing. Weaver says his motivation for the meeting was to communicate with Jackson the sticking points, from his perspective, as to why earlier negotiations in 2017-18 with Jackson’s predecessor at Xcel ultimately didn’t amount to anything. “I really don’t recall.”. When asked recently, Wallach says he was pleased with Jackson’s response to his concerns. “I think that’s going to be a pretty big factor in deciding things. “Could it have had more transparency? “I simply posed the question and I said, ‘OK, you’ve now heard how we approach distribution planning. Meeting Frequency:  In 2021 and 2022, the Executive Team will meet four times per year. Boulder officials say they knew this was a possibility, and see a way forward. In the end, Boulder voters passed the franchise agreement with Xcel, including the energy partnership agreement with the list of possible renewable and innovative projects in a close vote. “It’s the whole kit and caboodle,” she says. The idea here is to evolve from where we have been, which has been enemies at each other’s throat, to something that is more cooperative and hopefully more productive,” he says. This included Xcel’s secrecy around distribution planning and grid modernization, as well as his skepticism of the company’s ability to reach its goal of 80% emissions reduction by 2030. It’s kind of hard for me to prove a negative when someone says it wasn’t transparent. Reviews (612) 330-5500 Website. And we have not a clue how we’re going to fill that gap. Wikimedia Commons . The city’s offer comes after an Oct. 28 Colorado Public Utilities Commission ruling that approved transfer of Xcel Energy assets outside substations to the city. I think that would be a normal procedure.”. Energy-conscious city's bid to municipalize electric utility is being watched nationally. The franchise agreement is a part of a larger settlement package Based on 1 salaries posted anonymously by Xcel Energy Operations Manager employees in Boulder. Weaver says select members of City staff were notified the day that Jackson had proposed settlement discussions. Most of that advertisement around those programs are things that we, as a legislature have required them to do,” Fenberg says. The City entered into settlement negotiations with Xcel four times over the last decade. The two were introduced by Tim Wolf, a Boulderite and Xcel board member, whom Yates says is a friend of his wife’s. I’m like, well, tell me what you would have wanted in retrospect.”, Wallach adds: “I think we were pretty open and transparent in the process, except for the very initial stages when we were trying to find [whether] we’ll be talking to the wall or we’ll be talking to somebody who wants to actually engage and do a deal.”. In an email, attaching the letter to City Council, Toor urged “the full council to support this agreement, and outlining the statewide climate and clean energy benefits we see from this agreement, and providing our commitment to support its implementation, including through intervention at the Public Utilities Commission.”, He followed up separately to Yates and Weaver, offering to speak at the public meeting on Aug. 20, to which Yates responded, “My opinion is that this would be helpful.”. Xcel Energy submitted its electric transportation plan after a 2019 law cleared the way for regulated utilities to invest in equipment and programs to boost the use of electric vehicles, one of Gov. Instead, the city has since explored municipalization of the electric utility a… The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. “What I can tell you is they have plausible scenarios for making the targets, as far as I’m concerned,” Weaver says. She says she understood the concerns of those who thought it amounted to political campaigning, and it was a lesson for Xcel in learning more about the Boulder community. BOULDER — After a decade of lawsuits, appeals, negotiation starts and stops, Boulder Chamber leadership favors a deal that could put an end to Boulder’s attempt to form a municipal utility and establish a path for the city to partner with Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) to achieve sustainability goals. But according to Jackson, Xcel and Boulder will have to agree on both sides of the discussion — both amending the 120% cap and what can be done with the extra energy. City Council was notified of the discussions on April 22, via a confidential memo from Carr. And again, it’d be good to know how much it’ll cost burden to implement the types of projects the City needs in order to get to 100% renewables by 2030, especially since the cost of continuing to pursue the muni was a major selling point of this franchise agreement. Love your job. Boulder Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates first met with Xcel Colorado President Alice Jackson on July 19, 2019. It’s actually not a mystery. Xcel will resume payment of a franchise fee to Boulder’s general fund (more on that below). Several people with whom we spoke believe if Xcel brings something to court, they’re going to win. Boulder, Xcel Energy enter settlement discussions on proposed separation The City of Boulder and Xcel Energy announced Tuesday that they … Jared Polis’ major goals. Connecting state and local government leaders Continue to the site Continue to the site. This was especially true when it comes to CCE, for which Boulder’s state Rep. Edie Hooten has been leading the statewide effort. Specifically, if voters approve the franchise: The current case in the court of appeals will continue. Duties:  Responsible for oversight of the partnership agreement, including communication and collaboration between the city and Xcel to achieve the partnership's goals. In the final agreement, Wallach worked in language that prevents Xcel from campaigning or financing campaigns should either City Council or Boulder citizens hold a vote to opt-out of the franchise agreement in five years. After receiving and reviewing the hundreds of documents in our request, BW spoke with Council members involved in the negotiations, state lawmakers, citizen activists and Xcel representatives to put the documents in context. Get hired. And I think this was a pretty big thing. “After our staff review and my independent look at their scenarios, I became convinced that they had plausible ways of getting there.”. The only rule that matters here is Xcel always wins.’”. Weaver agrees there are no guarantees on a project-level — figuring out how to fund projects makes guaranteeing specific projects difficult — but there’s still a lot he thinks will keep Xcel engaged. Between 2010 and 2020, the city and Xcel have operated without a franchise agreement while the city explored the creation of a city-run electric utility. Average salary for Xcel Energy Operations Manager in Boulder: $130,650. After the appellate decision is issued, all further court actions will be discontinued. “In a lot of ways, COVID was probably the motivating force here,” Wallach says. Get directions, reviews and information for Xcel Energy in Boulder, CO. Xcel Energy 2655 63rd St Boulder CO 80301. It would have stopped the discussions in their tracks to have had that condition.”. The Project Oversight team will appoint teams for each project. And a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between the City and Xcel was executed on April 30; it included, among other items, ways the company could meet its 80% carbon emission reduction target by 2030 and an agreement not to use the proceeding negotiations in the ongoing municipalization litigation between the two parties. With that, we still don’t know if Xcel plans to close coal-burning plants in its portfolio, which Fenberg says would be the fastest way of reducing emissions. Boulder hasn’t been in franchise since January 2011, but because electricity is essential, Xcel still has to provide power. “And that repeatability piece is an important focus, not only for us, but you’ve heard it from the leaders in the City as well, is that they want to provide an example for others that actually helps others do what it is that have been the goals of Boulder.”. Under the potential agreement, the city and Xcel would work together to achieve Boulder’s renewable energy target: 100% by 2030. The list of assets from the Oct. 28 decision may be used by the city. In 2017, Boulder voters did not approve a ballot measure extending this privilege. The goal of the city's partnership is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with gas and electricity consumption, electrify, and boost resilience and equity in Boulder. Jackson says the City saw “possible permutations that could come out as the pathway forward” for Xcel to reach its 2030 carbon reduction requirements, but it wasn’t a step-by-step plan. Weaver also says the City will be integrated into Xcel’s distribution planning process, which enables the City to see how their system functions in an energy-flow context — something to which the City hasn’t previously had access, and a major point of contention in the municipalization fight. The next meeting between the parties didn’t occur until April 20, according to both a review of the emails and comments from Yates, Weaver and Jackson. Boulder Xcel Energy remains steadfast in our goals of carbon reduction and the use of renewable energy, which aligns with Boulder’s stated environmental goals. Xcel Energy was not pleased with the proposed split. The state really shouldn’t have been involved, given Xcel, per state law, is the only utility at the moment authorized to provide electricity to Boulder and holds a monopoly over Boulder’s electricity, says state Sen. Steve Fenberg, who helped launch the muni effort in Boulder 10 years ago. But the one thing we can be sure of is, on this path, it will be very expensive. Weaver also points to another guarantee in the agreement: Xcel will pay to underground its power lines in Boulder, a costly endeavor that was put on hold during the ongoing municipalization litigation but would make the City’s electric grid less susceptible to outages and extreme weather. Voters will decide whether the City of Boulder enters into a new 20-year franchise with Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel Energy). According to emails obtained by BW, on May 8, Yates told Jackson that language of the agreement is coming so the company can review it ahead of the public announcement. The city and Xcel would work together to update Boulder’s electric grid, share data and develop innovative demonstration projects under the guidance of a community board. The city in January sent a notice of intent to Xcel, a necessary first step in the negotiations, and followed in April with an initial offer of $68.5 million. “We had a window of opportunity to have a conversation without ardently being in the litigation room,” Jackson says, given that PUC had already finalized what assets were on the condemnation list, district court proceedings were in a holding pattern, and key steps hadn’t yet been taken with federal regulators. They will also work with other partners like CU, federal labs and other businesses to develop, test and promote new technologies. News briefs: Fracking blocked on 53 oil and gas leases in Colorado, and more, Tribal leaders engage Colorado Senator Bennet to ensure universal access to clean water on reservations, The inside story of how Boulder and Xcel reached a settlement, 114 studies on flipped classrooms show small payoff for big effort, Letters 1/14: Coal plants, elections and more, The for-profit barbarity of mercenary Erik Prince. I hope so, but I also think we shouldn’t confuse that with them necessarily doing that out of the goodness of their heart. On June 9, Jackson also sent Yates and Weaver language from Xcel’s agreements with other cities, as the two parties began to develop the franchise agreement. Daily Camera Jun. View the presentation slides and Watch the presentation recording. “I don’t know how exactly we would have done it better except to have citizens at the table during the negotiations with Xcel. The City can opt out of the agreement in 2022, 2024 and 2028 if Xcel fails to meet its carbon reduction benchmarks, or every five years starting in 2026 for any reason whatsoever. “I’ve been in court five times with Xcel. A franchise agreement allows Xcel to use the city’s streets, public spaces and other rights-of-way to deliver electricity and natural gas. It was kind of abrupt, it was abrupt for me, certainly, and so I think everybody wanted to get it just right and make sure that they weren’t, you know, stepping on the other person’s toes or overstating things.”, He adds: “I don’t have an impression that Xcel was really driving the messaging around that; they were just cautious about a few points.”. “We have to line up on both pieces and that was discussed in our negotiations and in the settlement.”. Xcel Energy is looking to hire one or more Gas Service Fitter's. But in all of this, the silver lining, according to Hooten, is the fact that under this agreement the door is still open for municipalization. The two were introduced by Tim Wolf, a Boulderite and Xcel board member, whom Yates says is a friend of his wife’s. Xcel Energy invested over the years about $19.5 million through the “one percent fund” to convert power lines to underground in Boulder. This is lined out in the energy partnership agreement, a document that has a list of projects Boulder and Xcel have agreed to consider working on to meet the City’s renewable energy goals, as part of the settlement and franchise agreement. In 2010, Boulder City Council decided not to enter into a new franchise agreement with Xcel Energy. I thought the staff did a good job on it. You can see all the documents at the end of the article here. … It was really getting their take on where things were [and] why the relationship was where it was at.” It was the first time, she says, she had even heard of Boulder’s goals of decarbonizing, decentralizing and democratizing its energy future, which became key factors in later negotiations. Jackson says the franchise agreement itself is relatively “cookie-cutter,” with the exception of the addition of the opt-out provisions at five, 10 and 15 years, as well as other times if the company fails to meet its emission reduction targets. It certainly creates an impression,” she says. The new franchise agreement, approved by voters in 2020 allows the city could exit at certain times, described in this table: Several groups, including the public, provide input and oversight into the partnership. “So, will they do some interesting and cool and innovative projects with the City of Boulder? All emails between Carr, Yates, Weaver and Alice Jackson or any combination thereof from July 1, 2019 to present. Are you ready to work alongside experienced professionals on real projects and issues? If we were able to find a pathway to get you more comfortable with the decentralization conversation, we’re obviously making dramatic moves on the decarbonization side and that’ll be taking place at the Public Utilities Commission, should we open the door to having a conversation on how do we do this together again?’” Jackson recalls. And what is that? Fenberg says he’s still negotiating with Xcel and other stakeholders in finalizing his bill and what will eventually be a part of it, the “tough conversations” occurring around what will be done with excess energy. The two agreed to a phone discussion, after which the email chain trails off. 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