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SEPA Report Captures Compelling Voices of 2016 Colorado Energy Settlement
Respect, Determination and Turkey Emojis Kept 26 Intervenors Talking
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has announced the publication of a new report, Voices From Colorado’s Global Energy Settlement, an oral history of the groundbreaking 2016 negotiations involving 26 intervenors and three regulatory dockets.
The resulting agreement between Xcel Energy and the 26 stakeholders — covering dockets on rate reform, solar market expansion and renewable energy planning — has been well covered. But SEPA researchers saw an essential piece of the story that was missing. How did they do it, when, up until that point, other states and jurisdictions had failed? The report contains the compelling voices and insights of the people who spent long days and nights in a Denver conference room, looking for ways to overcome longstanding distrust and hammer out a series of compromises and new solutions.
On Tuesday June 11 Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order committing the state to climate action. The full text is available here.
The press relase regarding the Exectuive Order is below:
“Coloradans value clean air and clean water. Our strong economy is a reflection of how our exhilarating outdoors attracts young entrepreneurs and the talent they need for their businesses,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “The vast majority of our residents, and indeed the country, expect us to help lead the way toward a clean and affordable energy future. In this process, we no doubt can address climate change while keeping a priority on household budgets.”
The executive order declares it to be the goal of the State of Colorado to achieve the following:
Colorado also is committing to:
A solar trade case pending before the International Trade Commission poses significant risks to the entire U.S. solar industry, believes the Solar Energy Industries Association. A petition was filed by Suniva, a Chinese-owned solar company that has filed for bankruptcy,and supported by SolarWorld, a German-owned solar company. They are requesting that the federal government impose tariffs on imported solar cells and establish minimum prices on imported solar panels.
SEIA estimates that if they prevail, solar panel prices will double and up to 88,000 solar jobs nationally – and about 2,000 in Colorado—will be lost.
COSEIA is asking member companies to let us know if you want to sign on to a letter that will be sent to members of our Congressional delegation. Please email Rebecca at if your company wants to sign on.
There is also a model letter here you can use to send your own letter.
Companies are also asked to fill out a questionnaire on the case. You can find information here:
DENVER – Colorado companies including Western Union, New Belgium Brewing and several ski resorts have joined hundreds of U.S. mayors, governors and chief executives, all promising to make good on the nation’s commitment to reach climate goals set in Paris.
A letter – including signatures from such high-profile brands as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nestle, Target and Wrangler – was released Monday.
Rebecca Cantwell, director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, said she isn’t surprised President Trump’s decision to pull out of the international agreement is meeting a groundswell of opposition “by mayors, by governors, by legislators, by major businesses, showing that – despite what the administration has said – we the people plan to continue to do our part in addressing climate change.”
Today, members of the solar industry sent a letter sent a letter to Governor Hickenlooper expressing our disappointment that the legislature failed to secure funding for the Colorado Energy Office. The Colorado Energy Office plays and important role in the state’s energy ecosystem. The office is an important convener and serves as a mediator of different view points. Its programs serve as important incubators to encourage nascent technologies and new business models.
It is our hope that Governor Hickenlooper is able to find a way to secure funding for the Colorado Energy Office. The solar industry stands ready to assist in this effort.
Our full letter is available here: COSEIA Letter on Energy Office 5-12
The Public Utilities Commission written order approving Xcel Energy’s Electric Resource Plan, issued April 28, contains important precedents that acknowledge the real costs of climate change in Colorado. The long-range planning document will guide Xcel in making future resource decisions. COSEIA believes it is very significant that the PUC majority agreed with us, and others, that Xcel must model the “social costs’’ of carbon when planning on what future energy resources to acquire.
While advocates have been arguing for years that broader impacts from carbon pollution need to be considered in resource planning, this is the clearest direction yet provided that the PUC can use its discretion to consider such costs. Thus, conditions such as health impacts, fires, drought, flooding, extreme heat, tourism impacts and more need to be considered in making resource decisions.
Additionally, the PUC agreed with COSEIA on another key point: that Xcel must model different levels of discounting the future costs of fossil fuels. In addition to the long-standing 6.78% discount figure used by Xcel, the utility now must model both a 3% and 0% scenario. We believe this will more accurately allow decision makers to evaluate the costs of fossil fuels compared to renewables because the higher rate unfairly discounted the future cost of fossils.
We believe these two important parts of the decision mark important progress in Colorado toward more accurately accounting for the costs and benefits of renewable energy as compared to fossil energy.
COSEIA has just filed testimony to the Public Utilities Commission on an important Xcel docket that governs Xcel’s advance grid infrastructure including “smart” meters and the communication components that will transmit data from customers to Xcel and back again. Use, protection and ownership of the data produced by new grid and meter technology is a hot issue in many states right now. While utilities tend to want to control that data, consumers and solar companies could benefit in important way from access to it, developing new products and services and improving their products and services.
COSEIA believes that the PUC should approve the docket, but adopt a series of requirements that would enhance customers’ ability to benefit from the modernized grid.
COSEIA Executive Director Rebecca Cantwell published an Op Ed piece in Solar Industry Magazine (January 2017) describing her experiences negotiating a complex settlement agreement with Xcel Energy last year. The settlement resolved issues in three major Xcel filings in 2016. We republish it here for your convenience:
“As executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, I spent much of my summer in corporate conference rooms at the headquarters of Xcel Energy, the utility serving about 60% of Colorado’s population. We had embarked on the most complex energy negotiations in state history and eventually reached a landmark settlement between Xcel and nearly two dozen organizations covering scores of issues, including many affecting solar energy.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced the appointment of Jeff Ackermann – executive director of the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) – and Wendy Moser of the telecommunications company Charter Communications to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Ackermann will serve as chairman of the PUC. Both appointments are effective Jan. 9, 2017. See the Story
Denver, CO, January 04, 2017 — Solar Power Colorado 2017 is shaping up as an invaluable exploration of the growing role of solar energy in a changing political landscape. While solar energy continues its record-breaking growth nationally and in Colorado, the sector faces major uncertainties as the new political order takes shape in Washington D.C., and the conference will be one of the first major professional gatherings of the year to examine what lies ahead.
We thought you might be interested in this article from High Country News:
“During his final semester at Delta High School, on Colorado’s Western Slope, Zac Carter enrolled in a new course called Introduction to Photovoltaics, where he could learn the basics of the solar industry. Some of Carter’s family works in the energy industry, and he’s always been interested in electricity. This year, though, he’s watched close family friends struggle to find jobs after being laid off by the nearby West Elk coal mine. By the time he turned 18, he knew a future in fossil fuels wasn’t viable.” See the story
Denver, CO, November 9, 2016 — The three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission on November 9, 2017 gave oral approval to a landmark settlement between Xcel Energy and two dozen organizations that will provide progress on energy policy for years to come. The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), which played a key role last summer in negotiating the settlement across three separate dockets, praised the unanimous decision.
The Colorado Solar Community
invites you to a fundraiser for the Solar Advocates Education Fund, that is crucial to the health of the solar industry.
When: Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 – 6-9pm
Where: The Home of Roger Freeman
1225 Cody Street, Lakewood, CO 80215
We are pleased to let you know that key issues that will affect the Colorado solar market for years to come will be resolved through a landmark settlement filed August 15 by Xcel Energy along with COSEIA and two dozen other organizations. Our intense summer-long negotiations will resolve scores of issues raised by three different major proceedings filed by the utility.
Phone: (303) 333-7342
1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 104
Denver, Colorado 80202 (Map)