FCSG Statement on CAP and 100% Renewable Electricity Update and Local Solar Goals, Policies and Business Models

 Posted on May 8, 2018 

 Two memoranda were prepared for the City Council for the May 8th City Council work session: Climate Action Plan and 100% Renewable Electricity Update and Local Solar Goals, Policies and Business Models. The Steering Committee of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group reviewed these documents and makes the following recommendations: 

1. FCSG strongly supports the work of the Climate Action Team and commends the city staff on its work reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions thus far. FCSG highly recommends that the Council continue all funding for current CAP policies, and fully fund all CAP budget offers for the 2019/20 budget cycle. 

2. FCSG strongly supports the work of the Fort Collins Light and Power staff and their advancement of distributed solar in Fort Collins. FCSG supports the development of a distributed energy resource roadmap, with the proviso that portions of the roadmap be developed ahead of the Energy Policy update. 

The positions taken by FCSG are based on an analysis of information presented in the two memoranda. The results of that analysis will be given to city staff to be discussed at a later meeting. The top-line highlights of our conclusions, thus far, are: 

Climate Action Plan and 100% Renewable Electricity Update 

 • A comprehensive community-wide Adaptation and Resilience Plan must be developed as soon as possible. It should commence in 2019 and not wait until the end of the budget upcoming budget cycle to be complete. Plan development and implementation should be phased to address potential imminent threats first. For example, the City should proceed now with a plan to respond to extreme heat events at the community level, given the well-documented forecast for much more extreme heat in Fort Collins, the need for targeted climate preparedness actions to reduce risks to particularly vulnerable populations, and the fact that preparedness dramatically reduces heat wave deaths. 

• Current CAP achievements should be compared to 2015 CAP Framework goals. Comparisons to 2015 CAP Framework goals indicate more aggressive initiatives will be needed in the next decade to reduce 

vehicular miles travelled (VMT) in the light-duty vehicle class, and to reduce GHG emissions in the heating (natural gas) sector. 

• All CAP reports need to be brought into full alignment with the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GPC); greater transparency is needed for how CAP reports and GHG inventories are prepared. 

• Special attention needs to be paid by City staff to the GHG emissions of Broadcom (formerly Avago), a large employer in town that is also a major emitter of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a greenhouse gas with 23,000 times the global warming potential of CO2. 

Local Solar Goals, Policies and Business Models 

• The information presented in this memo concerning the costs of distributed solar to the grid and to non-solar customers should be viewed with caution. Although the memo makes the point that various cost burdens posed by expanded distributed solar need to be examined and a new strategy to support distributed solar into the future needs to be developed, the information presented – especially slide #9 – is over-simplified. A complete analysis of the full costs and benefits of distributed solar generation – both financial and social – has not been completed; when completed, it will better inform the proposed plan. 

• More work should be done to remove barriers to increasing distributed solar power in Fort Collins. 

• While we agree that the current net metering program needs to be re-examined with the goal of promoting the installation of larger amounts of distributed solar, FCSG recommends FCU embark upon a full Value of Solar study first, and commends the Austin Energy and State of Minnesota studies as potential models. 

Author: Rick Casey

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