Changing the plan, which hasn’t been updated since it was first adopted as a set of policy guidelines in 1983, has been in the works since last summer.
“The uses have changed at the reservoir — the types of uses and the numbers of people,” said Alice Guthrie, superintendent for Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s time for us to check in.”
In March 2008, it all sounded great. Xcel Energy announced that Boulder would be home to the very first smart grid in the country, and people loved it. City council members thought the idea was stupendous; environmentalists said it would help the average person conserve electricity — or at least spread out their electricity use so that peak loads could be diminished (and, therefore, so could peak-load plants that are most often run off of coal and natural gas).
But two years later, the smart grid doesn’t look as shiny as it once did. For one thing, costs have skyrocketed. At first, Xcel thought that it would cost the company about $15.3 million to actually build the grid, not including the cost of running and maintaining it. By May 2009, Xcel realized it was going to be far more, perhaps $27.9 million. Now, Xcel is guessing that total capital expenditures — we’re talking digging ditches for fiber cable and installing smart meters in people’s homes — will cost $42.1 million. Read more
Boulder City Council decided last night to make a big buy — they’ll put up about $4 million, in addition to $1.18 million in federal stimulus money, to replace the 73-year-old hydroelectric turbine in Boulder Canyon.
Apparently, the turbine would have kicked the bucket in about five years without an upgrade. Read more
Tomorrow night, Boulder’s city council is expected to pass a resolution expressing general support for the goals of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, also called COP15.
The city if Boulder is sending a delegation to Copenhagen to advocate on behalf of local governments and to talk about Boulder’s efforts to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmentalists hope that world leaders will come to an agreement about how to tackle global carbon emissions at the conference, ultimately signing an accord that would pick up where the Kyoto Protocol left off.
The United States did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which would have obligated us the reduce our carbon emission by 7 percent below 1990 levels. But in 2002, the city of Boulder decided to try and meet the target on its own.
Aside from the Boulder delegation, scientists from the University of Colorado and other locals are headed to Copenhagen as well. If you’re going, BigGreenBoulder wants to know about it. E-mail Laura Snider at email@example.com.
Things are grim in open space land.
Or at least in the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks department’s pocket book, which is filled almost entirely by sales tax revenues. And sales in Boulder are down.
Already, the city has walked away from three land deals totaling 1,000 acres (see post below). Now, the city is talking about raising cash for open space by charging those who live outside the Boulder Bubble for using Boulder’s trails.
While the city has spent $208 million to purchase more than 45,000 acres of open space in and around Boulder since it began a systematic buy-up of land in the late 1960s, it still has more than 5,800 acres left in its master plan — at an estimated cost of about $100 million.
Among the suggestions for creating more revenue to fund those remaining purchases is to begin charging a fee for non-Boulder County residents who use certain city-owned trails.
City Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said she routinely sees people drive to Boulder’s open space to use its amenities, but never stop in the city to spend money on food or retail purchases. Sales tax on such items, she said, largely make up the budget for open space programs. Read more