- Colorado regulators on Thursday authorized Boulder to transfer some assets from Xcel Energy that are necessary to create a city-owned utility. It is a major step forward in the years-long process, but officials caution there is still a long way to go, including putting the matter to a final decision before voters.
- Boulder was dealt a setback in September, when a district court dismissed the city's condemnation filing, finding it lacked jurisdiction and needed direction from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). According to the city, the PUC decision "clarifies what the city will seek to acquire through condemnation, the process which that determine the acquisition cost."
- Boulder city attorney Tom Carr expects a go/no-go vote in 2021. The city must still reach an operating agreement with Xcel, which the Boulder Daily Camera reports could mean asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to step in.
There is still along road ahead for Boulder — the city would eventually need to build significant infrastructure, assuming voters sign off — but officials say Thursday's decision is a victory.
“This process has not been without setbacks and challenges, and it is gratifying to receive today’s decision," Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam said in a statement.
According to Boulder, the PUC ruling authorizes the transfer of assets outside substations, while a September order defined the process to transfer assets inside substations. That process will not involve the PUC, and will ultimately require reaching an operating agreement between the city and Xcel.
Boulder will also need to construct three substations to create a municipal utility, the Daily Camera reports.
In a future election, Boulder voters will determine whether the city ultimately creates a local electric utility," the city said in a news release. "Prior to this vote, the city’s work is focused on identifying key costs."
With voter authorization, Boulder launched its efforts in 2011 to form a city-owned utility in a bid to develop more renewable resources. Xcel now says it is now working on a plan to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.