Boulder voters passed two measures last week that could one day allow the city to create its own municipal electric company.
The referendums will give Boulder County control over its own electricity generators. The 2B issue will pay for research that determines whether Boulder County has the money and technical skill to create its own electric company. Research for 2B would cost each Boulder resident a dollar a month.
The passing of 2C will allow the creation of a Boulder Light and Power municipal utility without exceeding the rates of Xcel, according to renewablesyes.org.
A preliminary count showed that 2B won by 141 votes, and 2C won by 933 votes.
Junior economics major Yazan Fattaleh, 20, worked for the Boulder Smart Energy Coalition, a group opposed 2B and 2C.
“The margins were very, very slim, and that represents how divided the community really is on this issue,” Fattaleh said.
Despite additional research being only one dollar per Boulder resident, some students still feel this is too much with their limited budget.
“Even though it’s around a dollar per month, energy is expensive here, and I’m living on a college budget,” said junior Barbara Bowden, 22, a chemical and biological engineering student. “It sounds like the city is wasting taxpayers’ money to prove a point.”
CU has decided not to take any opinion on this matter at the moment, said CU Spokesperson Malinda Miller-Huey.
“The university didn’t take a position and still is not taking one because we can’t yet determine how it will impact CU,” Miller-Huey said.
Moe Tabrizi, an energy conservation officer, said CU has already begun the shift toward renewable energy. The campus is dotted with eight solar panels installations, not including the hot solar water panels at Will Vill North.
Tabrizi said he doesn’t see a change in the renewable energy process occurring at CU with these new mandates.
“Xcel is administering these programs,” Tabrizi said. “In the future, I would assume the city would have just as good incentive rebate for renewable energy because it’s really Amendment 37 and I think it will be less of a concern for the city or Xcel since everyone has to meet Amendment 37 mandates.”
The goal is to have these solar panels on every flat roof on campus, according to the CU Sustainability website.
Miller-Huey said the university will be upgrading some old facilities and adding new capacities for energy within them.
“We are still at the university committed to our own energy conservation efforts,” Miller-Huey said. “We are committed to lowering our carbon footprints, and lowering our energy cost remains a priority.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Vanessa Harmoush at Vanessa.firstname.lastname@example.org.