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2B Continued


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Energy and excitement were generated at the “Boulder’s Energy Future” public education and strategy session co-hosted by the 2B ballot measure volunteer campaign group, Citizens for Boulder’s Clean Energy Future (CBCEF), and non-profit Clean Energy Action the Thursday before Thanksgiving (2010).  Continuing its effort to get Boulder plugged-in to more clean energy, the open invitation brainstorm session launched CBCEF’s next public step in the Boulder Energy Future campaign by reaching out to community members. CBCEF’s goal:  to cast a community-wide net for engaging experts and gathering the most complete information possible and to build an action network to support City Council and staff as they move forward in developing Boulder’s energy future plan.

Ballot issue 2B campaign coordinator Julie Zahniser’s introduced BEF’s theme of getting Boulder powered and economically energized by 50, 60, or 70% clean renewable energy in the near future. City Council members Matt Appelbaum, KC Becker, Crystal Gray and Lisa Morzel, and former mayor Sean McGrath, as well as State Representative Claire Levy, joined interested citizens in listening, asking questions, and offering suggestions of how to prepare for a future clean energy ballot measure. Lisa Morzel pointed out the need for developing a clean energy plan in the near future in order to provide the public adequate opportunity for discussion, input and feedback. Councilman Appelbaum brought up governance as a necessary cornerstone of the planning process. Coming from as far away as wind-harnessing eastern CO, participants included energy wonks – technical experts, scientists, engineers, and financial analysts; faces from Boulder’s business sector;  a cadre of renewable energy and climate change activists; and a number young people interested in having a say in events that affect their future.

courtesy Ken Regelson

Boulder renewable energy policy analyst and CBCEF Steering Committee member Ken Regelson traced the history of innovative climate smart steps Boulder has taken at the ballot booth over the past decade. With numerous historic tax and loan measures under its belt that relate to efficiency and the demand side of energy production, Regelson persuasively advocated that, “It is time to get serious about the supply side” of our energy equation.

Regelson presented a model of a future clean energy path that addresses the essential 3 R’s: rates, reliability, renewables, and the key economic ingredient of Boulder jobs. He compared two potential choices, Path X, (Xcel’s as yet undefined committed clean energy franchise) and Path B (Boulder taking control of, or municipalizing, its power supply).  While acknowledging that much additional data is needed for a precise dollars and cents comparison, Regelson made a strong case for the benefits of renewable energy to protect rate payers from future fuel price increases as well as carbon taxes and regulation. The Boulder Energy Future 101 presentation identified major system components that need to be developed, organized, and fully integrated in order for a new energy system’s electrons flow in Boulder: generation, transmission, distribution, administration, including load and generation balancing and service. Regelson’s presentation also shed light on how Boulder could manage debt and anticipate rate impacts when bringing a new energy system on board.

Following the slide presentation, Councilmember Crystal Gray emceed a lively brainstorming session. The diverse, detailed, and specific suggestions and questions were recorded in one or more categories – technical/financial data analysis, political support development, public education and mobilization. Members of the audience committed to being involved in coming months and to taking action in areas of personal interest. In addition to sharing her long-standing support for Boulder taking control of its energy supply, Gray discussed Boulder’s growing international recognition as a leader in the area of clean energy, community planning and environmental stewardship.

Wrapping up the evening, PLAN-Boulder County Co-Chair and CBCEF Steering Committee member, Pat Shanks, reminded the audience of the importance of up-coming City Council elections since a number of the current City Council members, who have shown leadership and courage in setting the stage for Boulder’s current clean energy future opportunity, will be running for office. Shanks encouraged the crowd to stay involved, to talk with neighbors and friends and to continue its commitment to taking immediate and concrete action to reduce Boulder’s green house gas production, not only to meet our Kyoto Treaty commitments, but also to respond to the ever-accelerating global warming realities.

The next Boulder Energy Future Action Committee gathering will be held on January 6, 2011 at Boulder Community Hospital, Broadway campus, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and is open to the interested public.  For a list of questions asked at the brainstorming session and for updates on other events related to Boulder’s Energy Future Action Committee go to www.RenewablesYES.org or check the city’s website calendar for 12/21/2010 City of Boulder Energy Roundtable time and location.

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