Maddie Belden

On Saturday, October 26th a free, Renewable Energy Summit was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder to inform Colorado residents, businesses, and municipalities about opportunities to move beyond fracked gas. 350 Colorado, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder’s Climate Action Ministry, and Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado hosted the event in which the speakers covered ways to reduce energy consumption and make the just transition to clean and renewable energy. 

A variety of solutions were covered regarding fracked gas alternatives that could be used widely and affordably in ways that current energy sources can’t compete. For instance, home retrofit case studies were presented to inspire ideas for any building to convert or commit to renewable energy. 

Participants at the event had the opportunity to speak to experts one-on-one and ask questions. The event also offered participants a chance to learn about Boulder’s new Climate Mobilization Plan and how to support these efforts towards 100% renewable energy in their area.  

Featured in the panel were these key speakers:

Steve Catanach, Director of Climate Initiatives, City of Boulder

Kevin Cross, Energy Engineer, Fort Collins Sustainability Group convener, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate spokesperson

Yolanda Duperret, General Manager, Independent Power Systems

Leslie Glustrom, Founding Member, Clean Energy Action

Neil Kolwey, Industrial Program Director and Building Electrification Coordinator for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

Dr. Catherine Thomasson, former Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) National and current board member of PSR Colorado 

Troy Wanek,  CRES & COSEIA member, solar thermal expert, and past solar teacher at RRCC

Individual Home Retrofit Case Studies Presenters:

Dr. Ramesh Bhatt, Sierra Club

David Takahashi, Denver/Boulder Regenerative Hub

Here are my main takeaways from the event:

  • Though it is important to make individual changes in how we use energy in our own homes, we must also maintain the renewable energy movement on a public level. The best way we can do this is by demanding change in our local areas where we have experience and valuable input that we can contribute. Also, keep in mind that any change towards sustainable energy in our homes is significant and no single person can be perfect in their efforts. We need large-scale, incremental movement and we can start by making individual improvements, but it doesn’t end there.
  • Xcel, one of Colorado’s main energy providers, has the projects to move towards clean energy at a greater level. We have to demand significant change and urge Xcel to move towards renewable energy solutions at an accelerated rate. You can support the Clean Energy Action and uphold your values for clean energy on November 6th by showing up at the PUC’s (Public Utility Commission’s) next hearing. You can urge them to not allow Xcel to fund fossil fuel investments with our state’s money. We need Colorado residents to show up for this important event. For more information, click this link:
  • “The price of natural gas doesn’t represent its true cost of extraction, distribution, and associated environmental impacts. This makes electrically powered, high‐efficiency appliances and systems less attractive to builders and consumers focused only on cost, lowering demand, and in turn stifling innovation.” —Ron Bennett (Found in a hyperlink to one of his documents at the end of this post)

Thank you to all the speakers and individuals who helped coordinate the event and to those who attended it as well! 

If you missed the Renewable Energy Summit or would like to hear from the panelists themselves, click this to watch the video filmed and edited by Martin Voelker, part of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society: Moving Beyond Fracked Gas – Renewable Energy Summit

Below follows links to the slide decks and materials used by our panelists at the Summit: