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. It’s not a matter of we’re going to pass things by each other.”, The language in the agreement is loose. By passing the franchise agreement, voters also approved a new partnership between the city and Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy is poised to stay in Boulder for decades after voters there approved the city entering a utility franchise agreement with the power provider and ending an effort to form a city utility. I hope so, but I also think we shouldn’t confuse that with them necessarily doing that out of the goodness of their heart. Yates and Council member Mark Wallach, for their part, agree the process was transparent. I thought the staff did a good job on it. 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. 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. With voters approving the agreement in November, work on this effort has already begun, and per the agreement, Xcel will spend $15 million to complete it within the first five years. Meeting Frequency: In 2021 and 2022, the Executive Team will meet four times per year. The two were introduced by Tim Wolf, a Boulderite and Xcel board member, whom Yates says is a friend of his wife’s. This is not a low-cost way to achieve our goals because we’ll pay more for Xcel’s renewables than we should because they’re a monopoly … then we have a gap to fill, so that’s going to be very expensive. Toor’s involvement also added clout to the 2C campaign, she says. Council could elect to put an opt-out question on the ballot, or citizens can file a petition to do the same. That was something they just were not going to allow. And I was bullish on it.”, The state also weighed in ahead of City Council’s vote to put the franchise agreement on the ballot via a familiar Boulderite: Will Toor. Past franchise agreements between the city and Xcel Energy provided the company the right to use the city’s streets, public places and public easements to serve Boulder customers. Specifically, Boulder and Xcel will work together to achieve 100% renewables by 2030 and eliminate electricity-sector emissions. 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. Weaver says select members of City staff were notified the day that Jackson had proposed settlement discussions. 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.”. 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 don’t know how exactly we would have done it better except to have citizens at the table during the negotiations with Xcel. 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. But undergrounding ties into another aspect of the agreement: broadband, which Yates made sure to include. The day after, Yates wrote in an email to several dozen people that, “It never hurts to thank council members for doing the right thing and encouraging them to continue.”. Still, it was a difficult decision to put the agreement before voters. “I think you can make the argument we could always have done it better,” Weaver says. … And I thought this was a pretty good deal. We also got a better sense of the motivations of City and Xcel officials at various points of the negotiation process. The starting rate of pay for this position is $43.86 hourly. 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. A $200 million cap on any condemnation award, including acquisition cost, real property interests, going concern, damages to the remainder and purchase of two existing substations, Agreement on issues related to substations and commitments from Xcel that the company will pay the cost of any updates to the existing substation interconnection studies and design drawings. Boulder Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates first met with Xcel Colorado President Alice Jackson on July 19, 2019. 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. If they fail, do we have any recourse? Yates’ notes from the meeting indicate plenty was discussed. The partnership agreement seeks to make significant progress on Boulder’s clean energy and climate goals. By passing the franchise agreement, voters also approved a new partnership between the city and Xcel Energy. 14--Boulder on Wednesday made a final offer of $82 million to Xcel Energy to acquire its assets in the city's bid to create its own municipal electric utility. 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. Franchise Agreements dictate the long-term relationship between the utility and the city and can provide a platform for unique partnership opportunities that may help the city’s progress toward its energy goals. 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. That’s simply going to be a decision by the City of Boulder’s voters as to whether or not they think this has gone well,” Wallach says. “If Sam Weaver says it’s OK and Will Toor says it’s OK, then what’s the problem? 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. Nothing came of it until later in the year, however, when Yates again emailed Jackson, letting her know Weaver was about to be elected mayor and that, “Sam Weaver and I believe that it may be constructive if the three of us meet.”. Past issue archives: starting with most recent, back to late 2009. 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. Not so much who pays for it or what the economics of it are, but are these things that can help other cities get to a higher level renewable energy.”. “I’ve seen that in the [corporate] world where you have a pretty big thing that’s been announced. “It is that status that they have as a monopoly and that means, you know, on the bus or off the bus with them through a franchise or not, we operate differently in this messaging with them,” Weaver says. 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. 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. 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. 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. Under the deal, the city and Xcel Energy are working together in a modern grid planning partnership, aimed at helping the city achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Of the meeting’s content, Jackson says, “I asked a lot of questions to try and get perspective. She apologized at the public meeting a few days later. If they want to dispute the science and the measurement, I think that’s not inappropriate,” Wallach says. It certainly creates an impression,” she says. “They can contest the opt-out on emissions. The city and Xcel will share information and collaboratively innovate projects that Xcel can scale across their system. 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. And we have not a clue how we’re going to fill that gap. “My lesson from 2017 and ’18 was that we didn’t do that early enough. “This was going to be a prospective partnership between the City of Boulder and Xcel and how it is rolled out to the community, I think is of great interest to both parties. Later, on June 2, Yates tells Jackson that he’ll let her review his talking points for a public meeting: “I didn’t want you to hear it for the first time at Friday’s first public engagement session, and I will be happy to receive any suggestions you’d like to offer,” he wrote. The Project Oversight team will appoint teams for each project. Reviews (612) 330-5500 Website. Yates says he and Weaver were “shocked” that Jackson “mentioned settlement, because we thought this was all about network planning and distribution.”. Wikimedia Commons . It’s not because it was some arbitrary number, it’s because Xcel wanted to limit their exposure and they don’t want people producing their own energy and then being able to share it. Xcel Energy Inc. and local officials in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday reached a tentative deal that could end the city’s decade-long municipalization effort. The city is committed to transparency and will conduct a full public process to evaluate any potential settlement. 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. Love your job. | More Info. Even without Xcel involved, a robust campaign organized in support of the franchise agreement, spearheaded in part by Yates. … So it’s weird for the state to then be like, ‘I think you should sign this good deal with Xcel because we’re not allowing you to ever have any other deal.’”. Xcel will resume payment of a franchise fee to Boulder’s general fund (more on that below). “If we got to a place where CCE was actually enabled through legislation, then what it does is it gives communities who are served by [investor-owned utilities] the opportunity to contract directly with renewable energy sources,” Hooten says. The City and Xcel announced to the community that negotiations had commenced via a press release on May 12. “The fact that there was discussion between the parties as to how it’s to be phrased and how it’s to be announced does not bother me at all. “The 2C campaign made a strong effort to create the impression that Gov. You’ve got to shut down your coal plants. 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. “The reason this was hard for me was, if you’re going to be a policymaker there has to be something besides all or nothing that’s good or not. 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 … 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. “But at least here, we do have off-ramps and if we take an off-ramp, we can revisit muni. 2655 N 63rd St Boulder, CO 80301. Most of that advertisement around those programs are things that we, as a legislature have required them to do,” Fenberg says. And that’s the whole thing: a commitment to try is no commitment at all.”. After the appellate decision is issued, all further court actions will be discontinued. City Council was notified of the discussions on April 22, via a confidential memo from Carr. The Charter, meanwhile, requires that “all meetings of the council or committees thereof” shall be public. 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. So BW filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request for communications between City Council members, City staff and Xcel from the middle of July 2019 through the election. Loving Boulder to the point of awkwardness since 2010. The court granted Xcel Energy’s motion to dismiss the city's condemnation filing. Jackson tells BW the company Xcel uses for public outreach, EIS Solutions (led by Josh Penry, about whom BW has written extensively, See “Behind the Curtain,” Sept. 17, 2015), likely subcontracted with the PR firm in question, which she says was tasked with encouraging public engagement before the election. “What we agreed on was, here’s how we’re going to meet; here’s how we’re going to pick projects; here’s how we’re going to move them forward; here’s how they’re going to be potentially funded,” Jackson says. Yates writes that Jackson was “desirous of continuing dialogue, even if in parallel with litigation,” and that she expressed she had the authority to “commence discussions.” Topics at the meeting included community choice energy (CCE), local network distribution systems planning, and a mention of “time constraints (e.g. “I felt as soon as there was something that was substantive and material and interesting to disclose, it was disclosed,” Yates says. “After our staff review and my independent look at their scenarios, I became convinced that they had plausible ways of getting there.”. 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. Xcel had a hand in crafting how the City of Boulder was communicating the negotiations to its citizens. 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. And if the agreement hadn’t been on the ballot this year, voters would have been definitively deciding the future of the muni in 2021. Weaver calls it “one of the more difficult decisions in my entire life,” and that he lost friends over it. The city of Boulder, Colorado, on Nov. 20 made a $94 million "final offer" for the Xcel Energy assets necessary to create a municipal utility, in hopes of avoiding a condemnation proceeding. A franchise agreement allows Xcel to use the city’s streets, public spaces and other rights-of-way to deliver electricity and natural gas. And what is that? Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind. “And so we apologized, we learned from it and we’re moving forward.”. It says both Xcel and the City are committed to “establishing open and effective channels of communication regarding policy positions relating to electricity generation, transmission, or distribution in Colorado taken at the local, state, and federal levels,” and that “to the extent practical, both Parties agree to provide notice to the other of those public meetings where the specific policy positions relating to electricity generation, transmission, or distribution in Colorado before the Colorado General Assembly will be discussed.”, Yates doesn’t see an issue with this agreement, since the City is pretty clear on its energy goals. 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. 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