The Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) provides electricity to Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park. PRPA made headlines in 2018 when it committed to achieving a 100% fossil fuel-free resource mix by 2030. Now, PRPA management wants to build a new fracked gas/methane power plant that would remain in operation for decades.
Our two PRPA board members – Mayor Jeni Arndt and Utilities Director Kendall Minor – need to ask PRPA management some hard questions before considering approval of any new fossil fuel-based power plant at this stage of the climate crisis. Please send Arndt and Minor an e-message to express your desire for answers to those questions. Their e-addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively. You can use the sample e-message below, or write your own. Please send your message by Wednesday, September 27th, which is the day before the next PRPA board meeting.
Dear Mayor Arndt and Utilities Director Minor –
I am deeply troubled that PRPA management is asking you to approve moving forward with developing a new fracked gas/methane plant before even completing its 2024 Integrated Resource Plan.
The climate crisis is upon us. PRPA has a goal of 100% non-carbon electricity by 2030, and U.N. Secretary General has called on all developed countries to achieve this goal by 2035. Given these facts, it is of the utmost importance to understand why PRPA wants to rush to build a new methane plant that would remain in operation for decades.
Before considering approval of any new fossil fuel plant, you should ask PRPA management the following questions, and insist on clear, well documented answers:
- Why can’t the PRPA’s existing methane turbines be used to meet the demand for electricity when wind, solar, and hydropower resources aren’t sufficient to meet that demand?
- Why can’t the existing coal plant – which will be shut down at the end of 2029 – be reconfigured to run on methane when wind, solar, and hydropower resources aren’t sufficient to meet system demands?
- Has the PRPA considered installing long-duration batteries such as those being installed by Xcel in order to bridge any gaps in generation capacity? If not, why not?
- Distributed energy resources – such as solar panels and batteries – can be aggregated to form a “virtual power plant.” Were distributed energy resources fully accounted for in developing the recommendation for a new methane power plant? If not, why not?
- The draft resolution you will consider this Thursday refers to “green hydrogen.” Although green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel, how much of it could realistically be used in the proposed new methane plant?
- The draft resolution you will consider this Thursday also refers to “renewable natural gas.” Although renewable natural gas is a low-carbon fuel, how much of it could realistically be used in the proposed new methane plant?
- What was the bidding process for hiring Black and Veatch, a corporation that installs methane power plants, to study the need for more generating capacity? Will Black and Veatch be barred from bidding on designing and building the new power plant?
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, it’s critical that no stone be left unturned to ensure that there is truly no alternative to building a new fossil-fuel generating plant that will remain in service for decades. I look forward to hearing back from you with answers from PRPA management to the above questions.
Note: For more information on the proposed methane power plant, see pages 188-191 of the meeting packet for the September 28th PRPA board meeting.