Driving the Clean Energy Revolution from the Ground Up

Kirsten Frysinger
CRES Boulder County Chapter

Regardless of how humans convolute it, energy boils down to a single common denominator – the electron. Society has increasingly coveted the control over these little electrons and those who harness and distribute power have quickly installed a mindset and infrastructure around fossil fuel energy generation.

In March, our very own CRES BoCo steering committee member, Leslie Glustrom, presented a thought-provoking talk – Driving the Clean Energy Revolution from the Ground Up. The steps we need to take to bring about sweeping energy reform are nothing short of daunting. This presentation not only informed us, but it challenged each of us to consider our role in making this happen.

Xcel in Colorado is setting new national records for renewable energy generation and is closing in on the impressive 30% mark for renewable energy generation. This is a clear demonstration of not only the ability to change, but the willingness to transform the status quo as well. Ok, so extreme pressure by clean energy advocates may have played a great part. But remember, we are ultimately trying to put a positive spin on shifting attitudes, financial backing, and the implementation of clean energy measures.

Not long after her talk, Leslie circulated information about an opportunity to be heard at the Transportation & Energy hearing on March 25th regarding the bill HB15-1250 Tyler–Explore Performance-Based Utility Regulation. We were encouraged to come and speak for a few minutes on behalf of clean energy measures around utility regulation in Colorado. Arguments for performance-based regulation might include topics such as seemingly endless rate cases, rate structures that can discourage efficiency and solar, and our dollars continually being spent on coal plants. There also appear to be attacks on net metering with detrimental effects on our solar industry.

In her email Leslie stated, “I am not convinced that the attached bill is the most effective way to change the current system because it is likely to lead to the ‘baking in’ of cost recovery for Xcel (and Black Hills) without much ‘performance’ on the objectives that we are looking for and therefore is not likely to lead to much change–but you can make your own judgment on the merits of the bill.”

Leslie has the unique ability to champion the clean energy revolution while still showing us both sides of the coin. It is this type of vision that allows us all to gain a better understanding of the picture. Is a move toward a 50-60% renewable energy driven economy by 2030 realistic? I don’t really know the answer to that. But achieving such a lofty goal would be truly turning a negative into a positive.

View or download Leslie’s presentation HERE.