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Feb. 2, 2017 - City and the University of Colorado Boulder Finalize Electric Services Agreement

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017
Media Contacts:

Sarah Huntley, City of Boulder, 303-441-3155
Deborah Mendez-Wilson, CU Boulder, 303-735-4545

City and the University of Colorado Boulder finalize Electric Services Agreement
Organizations also commit to renewable energy and resilience partnership

The City of Boulder and the University of Colorado Boulder announced today that they have reached terms for an agreement on future electric services that will be presented to City Council for consideration on Feb. 7. The agreement outlines the terms of a working relationship, should a city-owned electric utility begin providing service to customers in Boulder.

Based on the terms, CU Boulder agrees to purchase electricity from the city utility and to continue collaborating with the city and other partners on innovative projects that support clean energy and resilience.

In turn, the city will:

  • Uphold or improve upon reliability standards the university already has in place;
  • Provide CU Boulder with an increased level of financial stability through an agreed upon rate structure; and
  • Create an opportunity for CU Boulder to regularly engage with the city in discussions about electricity delivery system enhancements and reliability.

The agreement recognizes that CU Boulder is a unique customer and a cornerstone institution in Boulder. It is both a power user and a power provider, operating co-generation facilities on campus that could provide back-up energy for the larger community. The campus is home to over 7,000 students, employs more than 10,000 and supports a significant infrastructure, while also fulfilling its core mission of high-quality education and research.

“CU Boulder is in a class by itself, and we are delighted to reach this agreement,” said Heather Bailey, executive director of energy strategy and electric utility development for the city. “It gives us both a higher level of certainty about how we would operate in a customer-provider context. This clarity is helpful as we plan for our future electric utility.”

“I’m also looking forward to partnering with CU Boulder to further one of our community’s strongest values – innovation – as we seek ways to support clean energy and enhance resilience. We can accomplish so much as a team,” Bailey said.

That innovative work has already started, with the university and city leveraging Department of Energy dollars to build out microgrids on CU’s east campus.

The city and CU Boulder began discussing the possibility of an electric services agreement last fall after the city filed a proposed separation plan with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. CU Boulder filed a motion to intervene in that case. Under this agreement, CU Boulder will continue to monitor, but take no position in, the ongoing litigation.  However, if there are changes to the city’s application that would negatively impact CU Boulder, the university reserves the right to raise those concerns after conferring with the city.

“CU Boulder’s interest was to ensure that its primary needs of reliability and rate stability would be met,” said David Kang, vice chancellor for infrastructure and safety at CU Boulder. “This agreement allows us to be responsible stewards for the university, while also recognizing our shared goals. As a campus, we see significant value in clean and locally produced energy, energy efficiency, sustainability and improved resilience. This is a terrific opportunity for us to work together toward this common vision.”

The Boulder City Council meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway. The meeting will also be livestreamed at BoulderChannel8.com.

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