August 2023


The chart below, assembled by Ron Sinton of Sinton Instruments, shows some pretty dramatic good news- the red line shows how much solar energy is now available during the day to Colorado electric customers of Xcel Energy. We think that big uptick in solar energy is one of the reasons to feel hopeful despite the dire climate news. Please read on for more reasons.

Our annual home tours are coming up as the perfect hands-on way for you to learn ways to incorporate green technologies into your own home and be part of the solution. Please plan to join us in September in the Arkansas Valley and in October in metro Denver!

Sunny regards,

Rebecca Cantwell 

for New Energy Colorado

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5 Reasons for Optimism About Our Energy Future

As the world swelters through the hottest summer on record, Solar CitiSuns sometimes find it difficult to see reasons for hope that we will find a way out of the worsening climate crisis. Emissions of planet-warming fossil fuels continue to increase and climate anxiety affects many of us.

That’s why we wanted this month to point out some reasons for optimism, especially in our home state of Colorado. Progress in the transition to clean energy is happening every day as the hard-working folks in the solar, wind, energy storage, clean tech and efficiency industries can attest. Here are five reasons for hope. None of this progress would have happened without years of work by clean energy advocates whom we call Solar CitiSuns, pushing utilities, regulators and lawmakers toward solutions. Much more work is needed of course in all these areas so let the progress inspire your advocacy!

1.  Lots More Solar Energy is Powering Colorado

This summer, two large utility-scale solar projects have started producing electricity, both in Pueblo County. The 250 MW Thunder Wolf project will supply enough electricity to power 42,500 homes annually and includes energy storage. The 250 MW Neptune solar project includes 100 MW of battery storage. Both largely resulted from hard-fought policy wins in 2018. And wind and solar developers have bid thousands more MW to Xcel Energy at very low prices for the future. We need to encourage the utility to embrace this clean energy instead of continuing to rely on methane gas.

2. More Energy Storage is Coming

In addition to battery storage being developed in Xcel Energy projects, other utilities are starting to deploy energy storage. For example, United Power, a large electric cooperative, and Ameresco are joining forces to install 78.3 MW of battery capacity on the coop’s distribution system so it can use more renewable power during periods of high demand. Colorado Springs Utilities and Black Hills Energy are also eyeing big storage projects. And battery manufacturing will also have a Colorado home when Amprius Technologies begins manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in Brighton in 2025. 

3. Transmission Projects are underway

Getting renewable power from where the resources are best- often in rural areas- to where most people live is a challenge around the country. But progress is underway in Colorado after long delays. The $1.7 billion Power Pathway transmission project will bring 560 miles of high-power transmission lines from eastern Colorado to Front Range residents. Construction also recently started on the TransWest Express which will carry electricity from a 3,000 MW Wyoming wind farm to Southern California. Meanwhile, federal regulators approved new rules to make it easier to connect renewable projects to the grid.

4.  Building Codes are Getting Greener

Thanks to a 2022 law, Colorado is making sure that new and remodeled buildings are more efficient and ready for renewables. Model building codes have been developed to make new construction ready for more electric uses, from EV-charging to efficient appliances powered by solar panels on the roof. Under the law, any city that updates a building code or adopts a new one now must meet or exceed the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and new state requirements.

5. State Leaders are Committed to Renewables

Longtime renewable energy advocates can’t remember a time when the leadership of Colorado -both the executive and legislature- and regulators were working harder on the clean energy transition. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which is appointed by the governor, has new staff leadership and members more willing to challenge utilities than many of their predecessors. And dozens of clean energy laws have been passed in the last five years. None of this progress would have happened without your help. 

Arkansas Valley Green Homes Tour

September 15-17

Make plans to tour 10 new and remodeled homes in the upper Arkansas Valley! Learn from your neighbors about new technologies including electric vehicle charging, heat pumps, solar and battery systems and home controls.

Friday, September 15: Hear from Paul Kriescher, host of PBS series “Heart of a Building’’ as he talks about “Mindfulness in Homes’’. 6:30 p.m. at A Church in Salida. $5 registration.

Saturday September 16: Start at New Energy Colorado and Ark Valley Energy Future booth at the Salida Farmer’s Market in Alpine Park to learn about touring homes in the Salida area. Tour is from 9 am to 2 pm.

Sunday September 17: The booth will be at Sangre de Cristo Electric Association headquarters on U.S. 24 N. in Buena Vista. Tour from 9 am to 2 pm. More informationL


Saturday, October 7th, 2023, 9am-4pm

Are you tired of skyrocketing utility bills? Rooms that are too cold or too hot? Poor air quality? With the new incentives, NOW is your best time to do something about it.

Find out more at the 2023 annual Metro Denver Green Homes Tour. Visit homes in Centennial/Littleton, Denver, Lakewood, Golden, Morrison, Evergreen and Wheat Ridge. Talk to homeowners and builders, learn their secrets and discover results you can use to energize and electrify your life!

Your $10 admission includes a guidebook with descriptions of the homes, a map of locations, and free entry into the Tour After-Party and Green Expo. Register and pick up your guidebook and map October 7th, at the American Mountaineering Center (AMC), 710 10th Street in Golden.

From 3-6 p.m. you can see a variety of electric cars at the Electric Vehicle Roundup in the AMC parking lot, along with Tiny Home, Container Home and E-bike demos. Also, check out the Growing Dome passive solar greenhouse at 509 9th St., (near the AMC). Then join the fun at the Tour After-Party and Green Expo from 5-7 p.m.

Upcoming Events

Colorado Energy Office- August 7- 3-5 pm

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap Update: Final Virtual Meeting

The State of Colorado want to hear from Colorado residents to understand their priorities, concerns, and ideas related to climate change, air quality and clean energy. Join by registering here.

American Solar Energy Society

ASES Solar 2023 Conference - August 8-11

The University of Colorado-Boulder Information here

Friday the 11th is a free day for the public from 10am- 4pm. Visit outdoor booths and hear a noon presentation in front of the CU Memorial building.  

August 22: 6-8 p.m.: CRES Webinar on Multi-Day Energy Storage

Metro Denver Green Homes Tour Lecture Series

Jefferson Unitarian Church 14350 West 32nd Ave, Golden

  • Tuesday, September 19, 7 p.m.: Joe Burdick: Installing your own solar PV
  • Tuesday, September 26, 7 p.m.: Heat pump homeowners panel (information from and lessons learned by homeowners who have had heat pumps installed in their homes.)
  • Thursday, October 5, 7 p.m.: Joan Gregerson: Taking advantage of Xcel Energy's Time of Use (TOU) program. (This presentation will be given after the 5:30-7:00 p.m. volunteer training /pizza party)


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