Quick 2-min break then: Muni wrap-up!
That went by fast. Anyway, the muni ended with November vote to re-enter an Xcel franchise after 10 years. But you know what they (OK, me) say: It's not over until the general fund is repaid.
Tonight is really less about the muni wrap-up (just a few steps left) and more about next steps in the Xcel partnership.
Gotta say, both of tonight's topics were deeply, deeply boring. Really struggled to read through the notes.
OH! Except for this. Staff's notes literally started out with claims that energy use is the single-biggest contributor to emissions in Boulder. Which is kinda not true.
“Using energy … is the single greatest segment of greenhouse gas emissions and is a primary driver of the climate crisis. According to the city’s 2019 greenhouse gas inventory, the overall energy sector comprises nearly all community emissions (98%) ....
.... a figure that has remained nearly constant since the city began tracking emissions in 2005, even as emissions declined 21% in that time frame.”
But as the journal Nature reported last month (something else I included in the weekly newsletter) Boulder was among the worst offenders when it come to under-reporting emissions, bc they don’t count all transportation emissions.
Notably, in-commuters aren’t counted in Boulder's emissions.
See what you miss when you don't get Boulder Beat's weekly newsletter, people? news.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d9…
Anyway, electricity generation still a big contributor to emissions, no matter how you slice it. To that end, Boulder has set three big energy goals:
100% renewable electricity by 2030
100 MW of local, renewable generation by 2030
175 MW of local, renewable generation by 2050
These targets will be update this year as the Climate Mobilization Action Plan gets another look.
Xcel has its own goals:
2005 Baseline: 33.9 million tons emitted
2019 42% reduction: 19.5M tons emitted (actual)
2022 52% reduction: 16.6M tons emitted (target)
2024 61% reduction: 13.6M tons emitted (target)
2027 67% reduction: 11.5M tons emitted (target)
With one eventual, enforceable goal:
2030 80% reduction: 6.9 million tons emitted (requirement)
Jonathan Koehn, the new climate initiatives head, said the city and Xcel are working together well and he's confident that collaborative energy will continue.
"Our community was divided" on the muni, Koehn says. "To many, the vote in November was long overdue. To many, it was a disappointment."
One Boulder resident is actually suing to intervene in the franchise/settlement agreement filed with the PUC (which is part of the legal process). Not sure who it is yet, but I do intend to find out.
That was submitted in December. It may be 8 months before the PUC finally resolves this process and OKs the franchise agreement and settlement deal, according to staff notes.
Xcel will also file its Electric Resource Plan (ERP) “shortly” with the PUC; will show how it intends to get to 2030 goal

Will also include strategies for closing the gap between Xcel, Boulder goals.
Staff has a few recommendations for this:
1. "The pathway will not rely on greenhouse gas emissions accounting methodology alone; in other words, the city would not procure unbundled Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) as a means of claiming a GHG reduction."
2. The pathway to 100% renewables must result in additional renewables and reduction in fossil generation.

3. The pathway must scale beyond Boulder.
4. The pathway must consider the grid impact beyond production (i.e., aligning load with when renewables are producing through a combination of local generation, storage and conservation).

5. The pathway must be flexible and adapt to new opportunities when they arise.
Possibilities for closing the gap include: “expanded distributed generation, community-scale generation, utility-scale projects, emissions reduction strategies (e.g., conservation, sequestration), and storage and load management”
“One or more” community groups will be convened to explore strategies
Back to the franchise agreement and the PUC: "While it’s not typical" that parties file to intervene in a franchise agreement, says Carolyn Elam, "I think it’s no surprise" that people were interested in this case.
Three parties filed to intervene in the case – the Office of Consumer Council (OCC), PUC Staff and a Boulder resident.
The city also filed to intervene, just so that it would be a party to proceedings.
Hey, reminder: Applications for the resident advisory panel to weigh in on the Xcel/Boulder partnership close this Friday. bouldercolorado.gov/energy-future/…
74 applicants so far, Elam says. 15 will be selected, but "Staff will be inviting applicants not selected for the Panel to participate in other engagement opportunities.”
OK, let's talk undergrounding: The burying of power lines to reduce outages (keeps trees from falling on the lines, etc.)
Xcel has promised ~$33M that we missed out on while out of franchise. BUT “Achieving this goal will likely require in excess of half a billion dollars in investment and take decades to accomplish," staff wrote.
North Broadway will be first undergrounding project, as the roadway is being redone there anyway. Staff have also developed criteria to ID what else should be prioritized.
Those criteria are:
Risk mitigation - areas with flood/fire risk, close to tree canopy or along roadways
Reliability - based on outages, need to upgrade facilities
Equity - “underserved, underrepresented frontline communities”
Cost Effectiveness - planned redevelopment or projects happening at same time
Legal considerations - easements, right of ways, annexations
Project scale - time to complete, number/type of customers and energy
Project impact - ability to integrate, minimize impact
and Community benefit - ongoing projects, flood/stormwater plan, OSMP plan
Something else that didn't happen while Boulder was out of franchise: Converting streetlights to LEDs.

Boulder's streetlights use 4 million kWh of electricity each year. New streetlights when installed use LED but the “legacy system” owned by Xcel has not been converted.
That represents nearly 4,700 fixtures.
60% can be converted to LED
“Xcel Energy’s current program is only available for cobra-head-style lights. These are the ones typically found along streets and roadways. They do not currently offer a retrofit option for the styles of lights that are commonly found in pedestrian areas.”
LED streetlights won’t save $$, according to staff.
“Despite the reduced energy consumption, the city is not expected to realize annual bill savings due to the structure of the rates associated with streetlights.”
A few possibilities for streetlight conversion:
Xcel conversion with OR without upfront investment from the city
“Developing an alternative program offering and rate design” (PUC would have to OK)
City will buy streetlights and pay for retrofit
Iffie Jennings from Xcel is here. She's the new Boulder-area manager.
Also Iffie = A+ name.

There have been so many good names at council meetings lately. Jen Sprinkle. Erin Poe. More that I can't remember.
Presentation didn't really touch on this, but here are my quick notes on the muni wrap-up:
Pay back the general fund - $1,445,211 (to be paid out of Muni fund of $1,452,757)
Archive all documentation - DONE
Updated data and mapping from Xcel - TBD
Design work - DONE; Xcel reimbursed
Court cases to be dismissed - IF PUC OKs agreement
To council qs: Wallach starts us off asking about the $500M-$1B needed to underground "every single residential feeder as well as the entire backbone" of the electric utility system, as Elam explains it.
Using Xcel's $$ alone for that (actually charged to customers but kind of remitted to communities for undergrounding) it would take "300 years" to complete all undergrounding, Wallach says.
Elam: We can increase reliability pretty immediately with some big projects. Once we knock those out, the smaller lines are more about "aesthetics" than reliability
Weaver: Do we know the cost just to underground the main lines?
Elam: We will have that later this year; we've got the data from Xcel under an NDA.
Wallach: Given what's happened in Texas, is there anything else we need to be doing to protect our system?
Elam: They have inefficient heating systems bc they don't use them frequently. And not robust management bc of the fragmented nature of the system.
There are "pockets" of concern here, Elam says, but they've been flagged. And some of the distribution planning work will focus on reliability and climatic events.
RE: Streetlights — Conversion is a pretty rapid process, Elam says.
I heard a reference to a year in there somewhere, but I'm not sure if that's time to convert, planning time, time to when it starts, or something else.
How long does it take Boulder to change 4,700 lightbulbs?

Send me your best answers!
Koehn: "There are all types of threats to our system." How do we think about microgrids? Islanding? Local generation? That's a conversation we're having.
Young asking about streetlights.

"I'm just curious about a more holistic approach to the streetlighting" question, including cost, equity, strategy.
LOL I've been waiting for someone who was *SO* confused about a "holistic" homelessness discussion to ask for a holistic look at something else.
Let's all pretend to be very confused about what she means by holistic and then talk about it for an hour.
Anyway, Elam says they're thinking about it. Will likely issue a competitive bidding process for some part of it.
Friend: Is it important to be talking about preserving viewsheds when it comes to undergrounding? Shouldn't we have reliability and equity addressed first? Given what we saw happening in Texas.
Elam: Our first priority will be removing any hazards.

"I don't see any priority investment into (undergrounding) strictly for viewshed."
That was under the "Community Benefit" criteria for analyzing potential undergrounding: "Underground project pairs with other community initiatives to maximize value of investment (e.g. broadband / fiber-to-home, improved viewshed)"
Weaver: I appreciate the framework for project criteria. I think equity and resilience are the right lenses to look at everything through.
Out-of-context Weaver quote: "Communicating with the geeks is important."
Here's the context: It was about the city's communication plan, that there are two audiences. The v involved residents (geeks) and the general public, who need to know why this work matters.n
Friend: While we're looking at half a billion $$ in undergrounding, I would think a lot of it in the near future would be focused on mitigation, reliability and equity.
"Until those are really locked in, I just don't understand why we'd be looking at things like viewshed." Maybe that is the plan, she says. "I hope I'm reading it correctly."
That's all for this one. One quick check-in after this on the city attorney search.
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More from @shayshinecastle

26 Feb
"I think it's got to be a holistic approach," Kevin says.
"You gotta have the enforcement piece along with services to support the homeless population."
Huntley asking the first q (climate change, sustainability, etc.) again.
Read 56 tweets
26 Feb
Forgot one helpful tidbit I received from an Austin reporter: That the city manager there delegates a lot to the deputy city manager (Nuria). Which is hopeful.
First resident q: Boulder loves its open space. What's your experience with policies of protection, sustainability and climate change?
Nuria: That's one of the things my husband and I loved the most about Boulder.
Read 68 tweets
26 Feb
Hey, #Boulder, did you remember that the city manger finalists public q&a is tonight? Prob some time for last-minute registrations here: bouldercolorado.formstack.com/forms/city_man…
You can learn more about the finalists — Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde from Austin, TX and Kevin Jackson from Long Beach, Calif. — in this story. I'm also going to share a bit more of what I know about both cities in this thread b4 the meeting starts.
First of all, they're both WAY bigger than Boulder, which is interesting. Some stats:

Population: 950,807
Square miles: 326.51
Budget: $4.2 billion
City employees: ~13,500
Read 23 tweets
24 Feb
Almost forgot your Wednesday morning city council recap, #Boulder.

Probably no library district this year, as majority of members fear competing tax measures. threadreaderapp.com/thread/1364381…
Last chance to apply for the resident advisory panel to assist Xcel and Boulder's energy work. Also in this thread: Details on plans for burying power lines and changing streetlights to LED. threadreaderapp.com/thread/1364419…
Applications for this panel close Friday.

Also, no thread, but we'll have a new city attorney by June.
Read 4 tweets
24 Feb
Here's a timeline for the city attorney recruitment: www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/City_Atto…
Looks like we'll have a new one by June, which should overlap nicely with Carr's retirement.
Some discussion among council about sticking with the current recruitment firm for the city attorney as for the city manager since, as Wallach says, it's slightly different.
Read 6 tweets
24 Feb
Anyway, the library. As you might remember, the formation of a library district (a separate gov't entity with a dedicated tax) has been a topic for many a year.

Here's the staff presentation: www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Governanc…
The reason is that the library has been chronically underfunded, proponents of a district say. I've done quite a bit of coverage on this, but not in awhile. Council last visited the topic in Feb. 2020. boulderbeat.news/2020/02/15/cou…
The Library Master Plan, adopted in 2018, ID’d that the library needs more money and a more stable source of funding to meet its goals for continued and expanded service (like branches in Gunbarrel, etc.)
Read 139 tweets

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