Local Power and Clean Energy
How can a city shift to renewable energy when the local power utility is committed to fossil fuels? Boulder, CO has decided to "explore ... forming a city-owned utility". The Kit Carson Electric Coop in Taos, NM has a customer-owned solar array and other renewable energy purchase contracts. The City and County of Santa Fe, NM are researching creating their own publicly-owned electric utility.
At the March 13, 2013 Santa Fe City Council meeting New Energy Economy and MSA Capital Partners presented their Preliminary Economic Feasibility Assessment of a Publicly-Owned Electric Utility for the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County. The title is definitely a mouthful, but the report itself is pretty easy to digest. According to the report, the status quo equals continued reliance on fossil fuels and increasing prices. But, a publicly-owned electric utility would provide lower prices, a big shift to renewable energy, local power generation and local jobs.
Why the interest in publicly-owned utilities? Many privately-owned utilities have little motivation to switch to renewable energy. If the electric utility isn't rushing to switch to renewable why not DIY? Customer-scale PV and wind systems are relatively expensive and usually generate only enough power for one home. We've certainly looked into our own PV solar system and they aren't cheap. Where will these municipal power projects end up? Maybe with a little more power in the hands of the people.
Boulder, CO - Energy Future Project
Taos, NM - Kit Carson Electric Cooperative