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Boulder, Xcel Energy enter settlement discussions on proposed separation

Boulder has been in a years-long effort to divorce itself from Xcel Energy.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

BOULDER, Colo. — The City of Boulder and Xcel Energy announced Tuesday that they have "begun discussions that may lead to new pathways to reach the city’s energy future goals."

Boulder has been in a years-long effort to divorce itself from Xcel Energy.

Boulder and Xcel Energy are hopeful the new discussions will lead to an alternative to a city-run, community-owned electric utility.

“When the city started this journey toward its own electric utility, the community had a clear vision to increase local renewable energy, eliminate carbon emissions from its electricity system, improve disaster resilience and provide greater democratic influence in energy decision-making processes,” said Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver.

“We believe our efforts over the past decade have contributed to Xcel Energy’s emission-reduction commitments. While our specific targets don’t yet totally align, I am hopeful we can work together to bridge the remaining gaps," said Weaver. "I am cautiously optimistic that negotiations could be successful and feel that, no matter the ultimate outcome of municipalization, our community’s investment in the project has paid dividends locally and across the country."

Boulder's municipalization work will continue throughout negotiations, but the city and Xcel Energy are hopeful these discussions will be productive, according to a news release.

Boulder and Xcel Energy say there is "significant community and customer interest in coming to an agreement and productive path forward."

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“We are optimistic that we can work with Boulder officials to help the city achieve its unique energy goals, just as we’re successfully helping other communities across Colorado to achieve their own energy goals,” said Xcel Energy Colorado President Alice Jackson. “We are proud to lead the nation’s clean energy transition as the first energy company with a vision to deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050 and are well positioned to assist Boulder in reaching its own energy priorities. We look forward to an engaging conversation on what we can achieve together."

Any settlement agreement would require a public hearing before Boulder City Council and the city’s charter requires voter approval of any franchise agreement.

Boulder says its planned “go/no-go” decision on separation will be delayed until at least 2021.

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