Fort Collins 100 Percent Renewable Energy Resolution

WHEREAS the Fort Collins Council adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) in 1998 to promote social equity, environmental stewardship, and economic vitality for all residents and businesses of Fort Collins and has updated it twice, the last being on March 3, 2015; and

WHEREAS the CAP mandates a 20% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2020, compared to a 2005 baseline, an 80% reduction by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050; and

WHEREAS the City of Fort Collins has signed onto the Compact of Colorado Communities; the Colorado Communities for Climate Action; the U.S. Climate Mayors group which has agreed to uphold the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals; and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy; and

WHEREAS the primary goal of the Fort Collins CAP and the climate action groups to which it is a signatory is the reduction of community-wide carbon emissions as much and as quickly as possible; and

WHEREAS approximately 51% of community-wide GHG emissions in Fort Collins comes from the electricity sector; and

WHEREAS the City is unlikely to meet the 32% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 that is called for in the 2015 CAP Framework, and will therefore have to do more in the next twelve years to meet its 2030 CAP goals;

WHEREAS electrifying a large portion of the transportation fleet and the home heating sector will be vitally important for meeting the City’s 2030 goals, and the success of those efforts is dependent upon a carbon-free electricity supply; and

WHEREAS Fort Collins Utilities played an instrumental role in the creation of Platte River Power Authority (PRPA), one of the most successful examples of regional collaboration in the state of Colorado, providing Fort Collins with highly reliable electricity at the lowest wholesale cost in the state; and

WHEREAS PRPA is to be commended for its ability to balance financial stability, reliability, and environmental stewardship for its member municipalities while delivering the cheapest wholesale cost electricity in the state; and

WHEREAS PRPA commissioned a Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) study that demonstrated that 950 MW of new wind and solar could be added to its electricity portfolio and its Craig and Rawhide coal-fired power plants could be retired by or before 2030 at very low additional cost; and

WHEREAS a coalition of citizen groups, the Northern Colorado Partners for Clean Energy, commissioned Energy Strategies, an energy analytics firm from Utah, to review the ZNC study and that review demonstrated that conservative cost assumptions used by PRPA in the ZNC study understate the economic advantages of renewables and indicate that more renewables and battery storage could be added to PRPA’s electricity mix at minimal cost to its member municipalities; and

WHEREAS reducing energy demand through energy efficiency investments costs less than increasing generation regardless of the energy source, and Fort Collins Utility is best positioned to study demand patterns and utilize demand management, load balancing, and conservation technologies; and

WHEREAS it is critically important to provide reliable, high quality and affordable energy to all residents and local businesses, and to spur economic vitality in an increasingly global marketplace; and

WHEREAS a number of the largest customers of Fort Collins Utilities, including Colorado State University and other leading private sector employers, have set their own renewable energy goals; and

WHEREAS the City of Fort Collins can use renewable energy to attract and retain sustainability-minded business and expand quality job opportunities in the green economy; and

WHEREAS Xcel and Platte River Power Authority recently demonstrated that new renewable energy now costs less than natural gas resources and less than current operating costs at Craig and Rawhide coal plants, and that market trends favoring renewables and battery storage can be expected to continue; and

WHEREAS the technologies associated with battery storage are continuing to develop rapidly in terms of capacity, life-expectancy, and affordability, presenting the opportunity to utilize storage alongside renewable energy in a cost-effective, feasible manner; and

WHEREAS the extraction, transportation, and storage of natural gas releases large quantities of fugitive methane emissions, and the burning of natural gas emits carbon dioxide, creating a negative impact on our climate equivalent to or greater than coal use; and

WHEREAS, we all appreciate the beauty of Northern Colorado and our wonderful community and want to protect and ensure such beauty will be enjoyed by future generations; and

WHEREAS minimizing our community’s impact on the environment is a goal for which our community should continuously strive to achieve;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, RESOLVES:

Section 1: That the Fort Collins City Council establish a city-wide goal of 100% renewable electricity generated from carbon-free energy sources by the year 2030; and

Section 2: Fort Collins Utilities in collaboration with Platte River Power Authority will continue to prudently and creatively develop and refine demand-side management strategies and energy efficiency programs as more carbon-free energy technologies are integrated into our resource mix; and

Section 3: Fort Collins and Platte River Power Authority will provide reports to the Fort Collins City Council on a regular basis that will include appropriate metrics and benchmarks as progress is made toward achieving our goals; and

Section 4: The City of Fort Collins shall continue to consider the needs of lower-income residents and work to help minimize the impacts of any needed future energy rate adjustments; and

Section 5: The Fort Collins City Council, in support of the City’s CAP, shall encourage commercial entities, developers and residents to invest in energy efficient technologies for their homes, offices, manufacturing facilities, and transportation.

Author: Rick Casey

Leave a Reply