Could Colorado communities get to 100% renewable energy faster than utility companies? Lawmakers may provide the tool.

Community choice electric, or CCE, is a concept pioneered in 1999. Xcel Energy says it’s a solution to a carbon problem that is already on its way to being solved.

Mark Jaffe
The Colorado Sun
View of a newly-opened community solar farm in Greeley on Nov. 20, 2022. A new business model made the project possible.
Valerie Mosley, Special to the Colorado Sun

Bringing community choice electricity to Colorado — which enables municipalities and counties served by investor-owned utilities to opt out and buy their own power for residents — is long on risks and shorter on benefits, according to a report by the state Public Utilities Commission.

The commission was directed by the legislature to investigate the option of allowing community choice electricity — currently allowed in 10 states — and to report back by Dec. 15.

Under a CCE arrangement municipalities and counties, individually or in groups, can pay an exit fee and leave their typically long-term franchise agreements with the investor-owned utility and buy their own electricity on the wholesale market or under contract with independent or “merchant” power companies.

They still depend upon and pay for access to the transmission systems operated by the investor-owned utility.


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