We all agree that the San Luis Valley needs to have reliable energy. Unfortunately, the utilities refuse to publish details of the Valley’s future energy demand while making exaggerated claims that deceitfully feed fears that the Valley is just one forest fire or snowstorm away from losing all power.
They are using this fear to push for their incredibly costly project.
In reality, it has been nearly a decade since system reliability caused a major power shortage in the Valley. And that incident only lasted a few minutes. Experts confirm that the power outages that have occurred since then are attributed to shoddy maintenance by the utilities’ errors and weather.
In addition, if the San Luis Valley is like the rest of the state, demand is decreasing. Xcel’s own reports indicate that Colorado is in the midst of multi-year decline in energy consumption. In fact, they don’t even project returning to 2007 demand levels until 2019!
We fully support improving energy reliability in the Valley. But we oppose the heavy handed tactics the utilities are using to position their overbuilt proposal when there are numerous other projects with a fraction of the cost and impact that could do the same thing.
Experts have identified alternatives that cost $24 million to $75 million less than the utilities’ proposal and preserve the natural treasures of the Valley while making sure the Valley’s farmers, ranchers, hospitals, businesses and families have the power they need.