Related Events

Community members tackling 100% renewable electricity and building electrification

The city’s partnership with Xcel Energy is designed to help our community meet our energy and climate goals, like 100% renewable electricity and at least 100 megawatts of local solar and hydroelectricity by 2030. While there are technical tools to achieve these targets, just as important are measures to involve the community every step of the way.

The city and Xcel Energy created the Community Advisory Panel to provide an essential community perspective on our energy future. The panel’s 17 members represent a variety of community viewpoints and experiences as energy customers. Much of their work in 2021 was foundation-setting, and in 2022, they’re digging deeper into key energy issues.

We’ve rounded up the latest Advisory Panel activities.

Panel hears update on Xcel’s renewable energy strategy

In a Jan. 24 webinar, Xcel’s Director of Regulatory and Strategic Analysis Jack Ihle provided an overview of the company’s plans to meet growing energy demand in our state. Every four years, Xcel Energy files an Electric Resource Plan (ERP) with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Through the ERP, Xcel presents its forecast for future electricity needs and its plans for the type and number of new power plants.

Ihle shared information on Xcel’s proposal which, if approved by the PUC, would reduce emissions 85% or more by 2030 and close all its Colorado coal plants by the end of 2034.

Representatives from Xcel also reviewed the proposed strategies to support distributed solar and storage generation that are part of the Renewable Standards Plan that they filed with the PUC last month.

Learn more: Watch the Jan. 24 webinar.

Panel selects subjects for initial working groups

Recognizing that meeting quarterly doesn’t allow for in-depth examination of complicated energy issues, the panel selected two subjects for the first round of deeper-diving working groups. One is working on 100% renewable electricity while the other is examining barriers and opportunities to electrifying Boulder’s building stock. The working groups will present their recommendations to the entire Advisory Panel at the May quarterly meeting.

Watch the 100% Renewable Electricity working group’s first workshop meeting.

City presents information on options to achieve 100% renewable electricity

What do we value when we say we want to achieve 100% renewable electricity? Do we value achieving 100% renewables 24/7? Is it important that we’re legally able to claim 100% renewable? What role should local renewables play?

When we begin to consider what it would take to achieve 100% renewables in Boulder, several questions emerge. On Jan. 10, the city provided an overview of these key questions to help guide the efforts of the working group.

Watch the Jan. 10 webinar.

City’s building electrification work presented

Before the building electrification working group gets started, the city held an informational webinar to describe ongoing efforts to reduce natural gas use in buildings by adopting electric alternatives. Buildings now make up more than two-thirds of Boulder’s emissions, and natural gas used to heat buildings and water make up a significant share of Boulder’s contribution to climate change. Increasingly, scientists are also finding that natural gas poses risks not just to the climate, but to human health as well. In-home natural gas use for cooking and heating contribute significantly to poor indoor and outdoor air quality.

The city’s strict building codes are driving electrification in large, new buildings. Boulder faces challenges, though, when it comes to existing building stock. While Boulder is home to many early adopters of clean heat technology like solar hot water and heat pumps, current rates of adoption are far below what’s required to achieve community goals. The city is tacking strategies to change this.

Watch the Building Electrification webinar.

Want to learn more? Watch the panel’s next quarterly meeting on Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Register to watch the meeting.