Welcome to the South Slope's Open Community
As Fools Rush In
Lured by special interests claiming that pumped storage plants will stimulate the economy while accelerating Colorado’s renewable energy future, our politicians have rushed in with legislation that will accomplish exactly the opposite.
Pumped storage produces no electrical energy. It wastes it at a furious pace. The pumped storage plant planned for the South Slope will waste 13% of Colorado’s total wind energy output each day, while storing only 6 hours worth of electricity.
We already know renewable energy is expensive. To fund it, renewable energy mandates in Colorado have already moved our electricity rates 20% higher than states without such mandates. Now that we have built the wind plants, we are being told we need pumped storage to store that renewable energy. What we are not being told is that our rates will now have to escalate again, because pumped storage triples the cost of any renewable energy stored.
Pumped storage is outdated and unnecessary energy technology that has become prohibitively expensive to build and operate. Yet the Colorado Legislature has just reclassified this century old technology as new green technology. House Bill 1083 grants special status to the construction of the South Slope Pumped Storage plant and transmission lines, turning the developer’s white elephant into hundreds of millions in energy export profits for TransCanada, profits extracted from Colorado ratepayers through higher utility rates.
Colorado ratepayers get nothing in return from the higher rates needed to fund a $1 billion plant that is neither renewable nor green. Pumped storage will set back energy technology development in Colorado, triple the cost of any renewable energy stored, and inhibit competition for legitimate advanced energy technology. Its extensive dams, spillways, transmission lines, and generator silos will do extensive permanent damage to Colorado's South Slope. It will create massive pits of stagnant water that will disrupt wildlife, local climate, and groundwater.
In their rush to grant special status to pumped storage technology, Colorado’s congressional energy committees ignored the letter, intent, and consumer protections of our clean energy statue. Statute 40-2-123 provides means to recover the development costs for specific clean energy technologies through rate hikes. However, it requires that these technologies be cost effective, energy efficient, and provide beneficial contributions to Colorado's energy security, economic prosperity, environment, and insulation from fuel price increases. Pumped storage does none of these.
After 5 years, the developer’s South Slope Pumped Storage proposal failed to secure private investment and Public Utility Commission (PUC) consideration. Danger lies when the government forces ratepayers and taxpayers of Colorado fund an unsound corporate project that cannot otherwise stand on its own in the market. Mandating the PUC to consider pumped storage a clean technology, now obligates the public to guarantee TransCanada’s profits regardless of their costs, providing them a monopolistic control point for storing and reselling energy. This will further entrench the inherent waste and environmental damage of pumped storage, while crowding out new clean and efficient energy technology solutions like smart grids and distributed generation that will compete in a open market against TransCanada’s state mandated monopoly.
The permits have not been secured nor blueprints drawn up. All evidence shows that pumped storage is outdated, unnecessary, inefficient, and increases renewable energy costs. The South Slope Pumped Storage proposal is based on an inherently bad business model. Despite all this, our government has now forced us to guarantee the developer and TransCanada their future profits, no matter the costs, overruns, mistakes, or damage to the land of the South Slope.
Denmark has become a world leader in wind energy without pumped storage. Energy studies from the Netherlands found that pumped storage built for wind programs brought unintended consequences - increased coal power generation. The US Department of Energy’s long range strategy for conventional and renewable energy calls for no new growth in pumped storage, well into 2030. Over 36,000 MW of wind generation have already been added to the US power grid without the need for any new pumped storage.
Pumped storage will decrease our generating capacity, increase our rates, and crowd out the innovation, entrepreneurs and free market solutions that will enable Colorado to lead the nation in clean, economically viable, and environmentally sound energy. This is precisely the time we should be reaching forward to advanced, efficient and environmentally sound technology for buffering intermittent renewable energy. Instead our legislators have decided to breathe new life into a century old solution, while legislating a publicly funded corporate monopoly around it.
If Colorado is going to pour a billion dollars into an energy project, why not one that produces energy instead of one that consumes it?
Is it any wonder why our politicians rushed to pass House Bill 11-1083, before the citizens and ratepayers of Colorado had the time to learn the facts, and figure out which end of this stick we have been dealt?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Educate yourself to the truth about this project. You can start with the information being compiled on this site. Click on the links above. Come back often. Contribute news and facts if you can.
- Contact your State Representative and Senator and the PUC. Tell them you do not want even higher utility rates to fund corporate welfare. Ask them why the public and ratepayers have been left out of this debate. Tell them that you do not want higher rates funding wasted energy and subsidized profits for TransCanada's electricity reselling business. Click here to find your State Representative and Senator.
- Join our email list and follow with your social network so we can email you new information and calls for action.
- Share this website link to everyone you know who should know what these politicians and land developers are up to.
We are updating this frequently so please return.