City Moves Forward on Local Power Work Plan in Parallel to Xcel Energy Negotiations
Boulder seeking bids to provide power and innovative financing for potential local electric utility
The City of Boulder’s parallel actions to determine its energy future progressed today with the release of a request for proposal (RFP) that seeks power supply and innovative financing for the city’s potential local electric utility. The responses, due Aug. 14, will allow the city to finalize key details of the utility.
“We are interested to see what the open market can provide to Boulder,” said Steve Catanach, who heads the city’s Local Power project. “We know there are companies eager to show Boulder they can provide high levels of renewables and meet our energy goals at reasonable costs, and I look forward to seeing their proposals.”
The RFP, available online via BidNet, seeks bids that will help the city determine key details for the electric utility, including the cost to purchase power from an independent power supplier; the amount of renewables a city-run electricity could achieve on day one of operations, and by 2030, when the city seeks to achieve 100% renewable electricity; and opportunities to participate in community-scale renewable power within the city limits and Boulder County, as well as large-scale renewable projects in the region.
The city is also seeking innovative financing mechanisms to help the city complete municipalization. This could include financing for work leading up to the community vote, and/or — after voter approval — financing for start-up costs, separation costs and costs to purchase the necessary electric distribution infrastructure from Xcel Energy.
A core focus of this phase of the city’s municipalization work is determining key details of the costs and benefits of a local electric utility prior to the community decision. The RFP released today has long been in the Local Power work plan and builds on a 2018 request for indicative pricing which demonstrated that there are power providers that can provide a reliable electricity supply to Boulder while meeting the city’s energy goals at reasonable costs.
Meanwhile, the city’s negotiations with Xcel Energy continue in parallel to the city’s Local Power work. Staff will provide an update on the negotiations and a summary of public feedback at Tuesday’s city council meeting. A summary of the four negotiation town halls is available on the city’s website.
About Local Power
Boulder’s Energy Future goals were established to build an energy future that is clean, local, reliable, secure and provides value back to the community.
Boulder’s efforts have begun to chart a path for 21st-century municipalization. Since the project began, the city has cleared several significant milestones, including gaining regulatory approval of the city’s separation plan, developing detailed engineering plans that will safely separate Boulder’s electric system from Xcel Energy’s, creating robust financial analysis tools that demonstrate the financial viability of a local electric utility and receiving bids from power providers that demonstrate the potential to access high levels of renewables for lower costs.
Posted July 17, 2020
Emily Sandoval, 970-210-1225