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A turbine whirls on a farm east of Burlington, Colo. Colorado’s eastern plains already have many wind farms—but it may look like a pin cushion during the next several years. Photo/Allen Best

From email from Big Pivots (Allen Best):

Big Pivots 52 has been posted, and you can download the e-journal by going here.

This issue is rich with content about our giant energy pivot underway in Colorado and beyond, the one made necessary—despite the cold and snow today—of the climate crisis.

In this issue are 15 stories, from Lamar to Craig, some short and some long, about transmission lines loping across eastern Colorado’s wind-swept prairies, La Plata Energy’s “monumental” pivot in southwestern Colorado; batteries and buildings in Aspen, and other topics. Some are already posted at http://BigPivots.com; others will be soon.

Also in this issue is a story about Comanche 3, which is down—again. Will this coal plant, still a relative youngster, remain standing to 2034, even with reduced operations? It sure looks like a stranded asset.

How will coal-dependent towns and cities transition to life beyond? The proponent of a nuclear study made the case to a Colorado legislative committee this week that modular nuclear reactors can help Colorado achieve 100% emissions-free electricity while easing those coal communities to a life beyond. Be assured, all the answers in this energy pivot have not arrived, as that state senator observed.

Now a question before state regulators is how best to avoid stranded assets as we nudge emissions from fossil fuels burned for heating and other purposes in buildings. The 2021 laws requiring this are relatively clear, but the precise pathway far from certain. PUC commissioners, led by Megan Gilman, have been asking good questions as they conferred with representatives of utilities, unions, and others engaged in creating solutions.

Sparking the most interest is the proposal to end the subsidies for extension of natural gas lines. Right now, if you live in a new subdivision, you’re not paying the full cost of the extension of the natural gas line. It’s being financed by existing customers. The cost is socialized. This is a hot issue—and will get hotter. The optics on this are really, really interesting. Boulder argues against socialism and Grand Junction argues for it (along with Aurora, by the way). Some of this will be hashed out in a special day-long session of the PUC on March 7.

Meanwhile, we have a $24-$25 million natural gas line proposed to the Sloans Lake area west of downtown Denver that, under normal depreciation schedules, will not be paid off until after 2050—when Colorado’s economy is supposed to be substantially decarbonized.

Comanche 3 was approved 18 years ago, and we’re 28 years away from that decarbonization target.

Do trust Big Pivots to keep following this and other conversations.

Also, I ask you respectfully to encourage others to join the “subscription list by signing up here. Want off this mailing list for Big Pivots? Let me know.

Allen Best
Big Pivots
https://bigpivots.com

720.415.9308
allen.best@comcast.net

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