Campaign for Local Power

A grassroots David and Goliath campaign to create a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future: neweracolorado.org/support.
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New Era Colorado Foundation
Environment
Boulder, Colorado
United States
6 Team Members

Friends,

Thank you so much for your overwhelming support. We can't express how appreciative we are for your financial support and motivating words.
Boulder voted 2-to-1 to defeat Xcel's deceptive ballot measure. It was an amazing victory mandating to protect Boulder's clean energy future. 

But our work isn't finished.

Despite their defeat, Xcel is refusing to cooperate with Boulder. They're suing the city and organizing some sketchy opposition--the latest in their efforts to keep Boulder from creating our own city-owned utility.

New Era is working to call out Xcel on their foul play. We can't let them undermine our progress. 

Click here to support New Era's critical work for local power.

Click here to take action and tell Xcel to leave Boulder alone. 

We couldn't do all this without you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. 


UPDATE 9/18:

With less than 15 hours left of our Indiegogo campaign, we want to offer one last deal:

Not only has a generous donor offered to match--dollar for dollar-- everything we raise between 9/11 and the end of the Indiegogo, 

BUT

anyone who donates $50 or more before 1 pm MST will receive our Pick a Side T-shirt,

Last call!

UPDATE 9/11: 

A generous donor has offered to match--dollar for dollar--everything we raise between 9/11 and the end of the Indiegogo!

Friends -

With your support, we hit our original goal!!! We can’t thank you enough. It’s incredible.

But, we have to be honest with you: really, we need to blow past our goal.

We need the resources to register voters, train volunteer organizers, and to get our message on the airwaves far and wide. Xcel Energy is likely going to outspend us by a lot of money--but their dirty money doesn’t matter if we can out-organize them. We beat them in 2011, but they'll fight harder this time around. That’s why we need organizers, to recruit more volunteers, to reach more voters face-to-face. Please build this campaign to defeat the Xcel-connected disingenuous ballot measure once and for all, by giving what you can and sharing this campaign. After all, this fight is about not just our community, but yours too.

And hey, you can also give your time. Click here to volunteer to organize the Boulder community.

If you'd like to give, but are having problems with the credit card processing, drop us a line.

A Landmark Model to Fight Climate Change

We have a rare opportunity to create a turning point for the climate movement, and we need your help to overpower the one thing that stands in our way. Boulder is on the verge of taking the biggest step it can to combat climate change--but the coal industry is prepared to spend whatever it takes to stop us, and to keep other communities from getting ideas and getting organized. Defeating the coal industry is as much about our community as it is about yours--which is why we need your help, and fast.

Boulder wants to break away from our current, coal-dominated utility--Xcel Energy--to create a local electric utility based on renewable energy. Feasibility studies have shown we could reduce our carbon emissions by over 50% immediately by shifting to cleaner energy. And we wouldn’t have to pay more than we do now, because we could afford a lot more renewable energy if we’re not paying for Xcel’s enormous profit margins. This is an incredible opportunity to create a landmark model for how communities all over the country can take control of their energy future.

Only one thing stands in our way: to stop us, Xcel Energy has helped place a misleading measure on our fall ballot that would kill our local electric utility process dead in its tracks-- and they're probably prepared to spend a lot to win. They know our victory would inspire communities across the country to follow suit and create their own cleaner, cheaper utilities based on renewable energy. They don’t want other communities wondering what they could afford if they stop paying millions in profits to the utility industry.

To win, we have to out-organize Xcel--which we did in 2011, when our city decided to go down this path. But Xcel didn’t see us coming that time, which is why we need a bigger campaign this year to reach more voters. Boulder voters already said they wanted to create a local utility--this year, it's a matter of making sure we turn them all out to the polls.

That’s why we need help from beyond Boulder. This needs to be the moment when we overpower the coal industry and make Boulder a real model for communities to credibly address the climate crisis.

Contribute to our issue committee to move us--all of us--forward, to create the turning point. Help us keep our democracy and our planet out of the hands of the highest bidder.

The whole story

Back in 2011, our community did something no other community had ever done before: we voted to explore taking control of our power supply for the sole purpose of lowering our impact on the planet. Xcel Energy spent nearly $1 million dollars on that election, but lost--because a committed group of community advocates and a small nonprofit that engages young people in politics won the day. Outspent 10-to-1, the grassroots coalition registered voters, knocked on doors, and made thousands of phone calls.

With voter approval, the city launched an extensive analysis and found that it could get cleaner, cheaper power that was just as reliable all on its own.

But now, Xcel is back, with a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks. Their ballot measure is masquerading as a way to reduce government debt, but it’s really just a dirty trick--the measure includes impossible, even illegal, requirements that would stall out the very process voters already approved.

They’re back to undermine our local process, because the city’s findings made it clear that they stand to lose more than the $35 million dollars in profits they make annually from Boulder. They know that Boulder is on the verge of setting a precedent of national significance that would threaten not just Xcel, but the very core of the coal energy’s business model--not to mention that industry’s billions of dollars in profits.

We out-organized them in 2011, and we know we can again in 2013 if we have the resources to achieve the reach we need. Boulder has already voted to move forward--this fight is about keeping the coal industry from holding us back.

Our campaign

This grassroots campaign is going to need a lot more resources than the goal we’ve set for this Indiegogo. But our goal is what we need to get our efforts off the ground in a strong way to make sure our movement lays the groundwork it needs to win in November.

Your donation today will ensure our success tomorrow.

The only way we’ll be able to counter the money Xcel Energy is likely poised to dump in our community on a fear campaign is with grassroots organizing. Because the only way to counter money in politics is with people. Your funding will help us:

  • Train young community organizers to recruit volunteers and build climate leaders to connect with voters
  • Register to vote and turn out thousands of voters leading up to Election Day on November 5th
  • Run large-scale door-to-door canvasses and phonebanks where our volunteer base will talk to voters one by one
  • Develop a message and produce effective materials that break through Xcel’s well-orchestrated and expensive fear campaign
  • Produce ads and communications that get our message out there in a clear, persuasive voice
  • Host events throughout the community to get the real facts out there
  • Run a creative non-traditional campaign to ensure voters clearly understand this is just another example of how corporations undermine our democracy to protect their profits

Please note, contributions to this campaign will be counted as a contribution to New Era's city issue committee, Voters Against Xcel Buying Elections. Your name and information will be recorded as a donor to our issue committee. 


Resources

City of Boulder's site with data on municipalization studies

Coalition website with lots more information & data

New Era Colorado Foundation 

FAQ & mythbusting from City of Boulder 


About Us 

New Era Colorado Foundation is an innovative vehicle for hands-on democracy. We engage, educate, and train a new generation of active citizens and young leaders in Colorado.

We provide the resources and tools for young people to gain collective power in the political process. We're grassroots. We're nonpartisan. And we're all about empowering our generation to lead Colorado not left, not right, but forward. We do it all with one constant: making politics fun again. And yes, it's often on a bus. So what are you waiting for? Get on the bus!

Press

NYTimes 

"Cities Weigh Taking Over From Private Utilities"

"Colorado: Boulder Votes to Remove Power Company"

"In Colorado, a Power Struggle With the Power Company"

Boulder Daily Camera

"Boulder municipalization: Staff recommends proceeding with creation of city utility"

"Xcel Energy admits links to Boulder group pushing 2nd municipalization vote"

Huffington Post

"Boulder's Quest to Municipalize -- From Independence Day to the Next Election"

"Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game"

Grist

"When is it time to break up with your utility?"


FAQs

What is “Municipalization”?

Municipalization is when a community owns the electrical utility.  The utility would hire an experienced company to operate it, at least initially. But the city would have the local decision-making power to choose what kind of energy it purchases on the open market.

Are there other municipal utilities?

Twenty-nine Colorado communities, including Longmont, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, have successfully run municipal electric systems for decades. There are thousands of municipal utilities across the country, but none of them municipalized for the purposes of lowering their greenhouse gas emissions and investing in more renewable energy.

Who would the City have run Boulder’s municipal electric system?

The City would most likely contract with a company that is experienced with setting up and running an electric distribution system day-to-day. The City utility would purchase power from one or more independent power producers. It can use the competitive free market to get the best price on power from sources that minimize their environmental impact. The City would select a Utility Board with citizens, customers and business representatives plus a director, experienced with electric utilities, to oversee the contractor(s).

What would happen to electricity rates?

The city's charter language states that the city is not allowed to move forward with municipalizing unless if it can do so while keeping rates the same or better than Xcel Energy. This means customers will be provided with cleaner, renewable energy and not have to pay more for it. 

The best calculations currently available, from the phase-1 (and soon to be released phase-2) modeling by the City experts, based on a range of assumptions and more likely scenarios, and with over 50% CO2 reduction from Xcel’s current emissions and 50% to 60% renewables (vs. Xcel’s 24% renewables, currently, and its 38% coal, in  2030, as shown  in Xcel’s 2011 electric resource plan).  These show that there are city options that not only are very likely to beat Xcel’s rates on day one of the City utility, but also beat them on average over 20 years.  Whether or not this will be the result of the final analysis does require a certain range of the most likely startup costs, but that is exactly why the process should continue.  We cannot know if a City utility is financially acceptable unless we know the startup costs and we can only know these if we complete the exploration so we can make a decision.  The bottom line is that your bill will be basically the same or better.

What about renewables? How much could we get?

The City’s Phase-1 modeling suggests that we could get 58% renewables and 54% CO2 reduction almost immediately while remaining cost competitive if we have reasonable startup costs or this might be delayed a bit while we transition out of the Xcel system. The generation mix would include backup electricity from natural gas as well as growing amounts of wind and solar, increasing the proportion of renewables as they make economic sense.  (We can use gas as a backup fuel and could find the cleanest source of gas energy or work to replace it with more renewable sources like gas from bio-char or bio-mass.)  

Electricity from natural gas produces less CO2 per kilowatt-hour than electricity from coal, assuming there is little or no leakage in production of the gas and the gas is burned completely.  So, our carbon footprint can be reduced as soon as we switch from Xcel’s generation mix, if we require our gas suppliers to certify their leakage rates are very low and ethically produced.  As it becomes economic, we can then transfer to renewable alternatives to replace natural gas as fast as possible, using bio-gas or some other sustainable fuel source, and use of gas will drop even faster.  While the City utility’s use of natural gas decreases over time in its plans, Xcel’s 2011 electric resource plan (ERP) shows an increasing reliance on natural-gas-generated energy that climbs to 52% natural gas by 2037 and because lowest price is the what the PUC (Public Utility Commission) prioritizes, it is unlikely that the leakage or ethics of the production of natural gas will be considered in contracts.

With a backup of natural gas, renewables could be added fairly easily to our generation mix as they become increasingly economical and available. 

How much could we cut our CO2 emissions?

Phase-1 modeling by City experts suggests that a municipal utility could achieve 54% CO2 reduction and 58% renewables initially while not exceeding Xcel Energy’s current cost for its mix of only 23.1% renewables in 2017 and 24.4% in 2037, according to Xcel’s 2011 plan





(T-shirts will be printed when we know how many to make! They might look slightly different, but you get the idea)

A note on tax-deductible donations: If you plan on claiming the tax-deduction AND receive a perk, you can only claim the amount of the donation minus the value of the perk. For instance, if the perk you receive is "worth" $20, then you should subtract $20 from your overall donation to know how much you can claim for a deduction. Please get in touch if you have questions about the value of the perk: info (at) neweracolorado (dot) org. Thanks!

Find This Campaign On
$193,018USD
raised by 5,702 people in 1 month
483% funded
0 time left
Verified Nonprofit
$40,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 18, 2013
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