Boulder, Smarter, Faster: How We Beat Big Coal
For years, Boulder, CO residents pressured their monopoly utility, Xcel Energy, the largest coal-dominated utility in Colorado, to provide cleaner power to no avail. Fed up with stall tactics, Boulder voters approved two ballot measures to begin the process of “municipalizing” their energy utility, effectively taking control from Xcel and requiring the city by charter to move to a renewable energy dominated portfolio. The campaign was historic--never had a city municipalized their energy supply for the purpose of reducing carbon emissions.
The goal is simple: create a model for how a community can power a city off of clean energy—while not having to pay more for it.
This session tells the unlikely David and Goliath story of how a group of young people beat back the corporate political machine (twice) using innovative grassroots organizing, what the electric utility of the future looks like, and why local power can be a game-changing model for communities to solve big problems.
New Era Colorado
Steve is the founder and Executive Director of New Era Colorado and formed the organization just after graduating from the University of Colorado. He comes to New Era with a background in local politics, labor rights, and environmental policy. Steve sits on various nonprofit boards within the Colorado progressive infrastructure.
Passions include brown ales, coffee, political street fights, film, and pink ladies (the delicious apple variety).