In Boulder, Colorado, what looked like a great opportunity for wind energy has turned into a stalemate so stubborn that discussions have ended.
Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) has been discussing energy options with the city of Boulder since May of 2011, when they proposed a 200-megawatt wind farm with the potential to supply 90% of the city’s power.
Boulder previously had a 20-year agreement with Xcel Energy that expired last year, and since then the company has been looking into new energy options that will help increase energy from renewable sources.
According to a state-mandated policy, 30% of energy must come from renewables by 2020.
The wind farm would surpass that goal in the city of Boulder, though it would cost customers an extra $4 per month added to their energy bills.
The city was concerned about the financial harm this could cause – and the discontent it might stir up.
So Xcel proposed initiating a vote – the vote would give citizens the option of a municipally owned utility, Xcel’s wind farm, or another 20 year contract with Xcel — sans wind farm.
This upset city officials, as they have expressed no intention of entering into another long franchise with Xcel, especially when renewables aren’t even a part of the deal.
The city is aiming to decrease renewables, and a franchise that excludes the wind energy option could cause dependence on sources such as coal, Forbes reported. The city wants more room for their own decision-making.
And city councilman Matt Appelbaum told Boulder’s Daily Camera that he believes even the wind deal would put energy decisions outside of city control – and this is not something Boulder officials want.
Xcel officials want to give voters a chance to decide where they want their energy to come from. Some citizens have been relying on Xcel for two decades, and Xcel wants to give them the opportunity to choose them as an energy provider.
As for the city, the only option officials see as feasible at the moment is the municipally owned utility.
Discussions between Boulder and Xcel ended on Thursday in the heat of the disagreements.
That’s all for now,