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Boulder City Council Approves 100 Percent Clean Electricity by 2030

Last night, the Boulder City Council committed to 100 percent clean electricity by 2030. (AlbertHerring/Wikimedia Commons)
Last night, the Boulder City Council committed to 100 percent clean electricity by 2030. (AlbertHerring/Wikimedia Commons)
December 7, 2016

BOULDER, Colo. – Last night, the Boulder City Council approved a measure to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity by 2030. The Council considered the move as a major step toward reaching the city's longer-term goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

Sarah Huntley, the city's deputy director of communications, said Boulder is taking conservation efforts, which typically ask people to use less energy, in a different direction.

"What we're trying to do is shift to renewable and clean electricity, away from fossil fuels that have harmful greenhouse gas emissions and toward cleaner renewable sources that we actually could use in abundance, if we have been able to make this transformation," she explained.

Like many cities, 99 percent of Boulder's emissions currently come from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation. The City Council's move includes a two-year planning window to outline how Boulder can reach its goals, including transitioning to a city-owned utility, increasing energy efficiency and boosting renewable production locally.

Colorado got a failing grade for air quality on the most recent report card from the American Lung Association.

While cities are some of the biggest sources of air pollution, Hillary Larson, communications coordinator for the Colorado Sierra Club, said they're also uniquely positioned to make improvements. She said Boulder's move could energize campaigns already underway to convince Denver, Fort Collins and Pueblo to make similar commitments.

"When cities like Boulder commit to generate 100 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources, we know that that is a huge step forward in protecting our health, protecting our air and water, and protecting our planet," Larson said.

Boulder is one of 20 U.S. cities that has officially committed to getting all electricity from renewables, including Aspen, Colo., which reached its goal last year with a combination of hydro-power, wind and increased efficiencies. The State of Hawaii is set to be powered exclusively by clean sources by 2040.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO