More On Our Work In Colorado
The purpose of this report is to synthesize and document barriers, challenges, enabling conditions, resource needs, and priorities for adopting integrated water and land use planning solutions in Colorado communities. The overarching goal is to help inform future water and land use integration efforts throughout the state. In 2020, WaterNow Alliance and Western Resource Advocates conducted 24 informational interviews with water utility staff, land use planners, and elected officials in nine Colorado communities. The results of these interviews indicate that many communities have already taken – or are planning to take – some action to integrate their water and land use planning. However, a number of barriers are holding them back from taking more action, including staff capacity and knowledge, codes and regulatory hurdles, and competing priorities. Through these interviews, a number of recommended future actions were identified, including: initial steps communities can take when they are unclear where they should start, identifying existing programs that communities
can utilize, and state-level policy actions that should be prioritized.
Electric utilities are facing new challenges in the United States. Here in the West, we are beginning to experience the direct impacts of climate change, through extreme weather, droughts, reduced snowpack, and wildfires. A hotter, drier climate intensifies wildfire risk and severity. Electric utility infrastructure—like high-voltage transmission lines—have always posed fire risks, but those risks are now much greater than when those facilities were initially constructed. This has led utilities to commence preventative emergency disconnection of electricity service as a tool to mitigate the risk of utility infrastructure sparking deadly and devastating wildfires. These interruptions in service, while reducing wildfire risk, also pose significant hardship on broad populations of utility customers who depend on reliable access to electricity.
In reaction to these intensifying operational risks from electric utility infrastructure and unpopular impacts on customers, two regulatory trends are emerging. First, utilities are seeking to be more proactive in maintaining infrastructure and proposing new wildfire mitigation programs. Second, regulators and utility customers are turning to distributed energy resources as a way to improve the reliability and resilience of electricity service. This article explores both trends in the context of Colorado, a wildfire-prone state with vertically integrated regulated utilities.
In this issue you’ll learn all about WRA’s work with wildlife corridors, why we’re tackling climate pollution from vehicles and buildings, and how one WRA supporter is helping WRA create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive conservation workforce.
For the past 30 years, the advocacy and hard work of WRA’s dedicated experts and our passionate community of supporters have helped ensure a healthier, more wide-open, and wilder West.
From systematically working to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, to protecting miles of rivers and habitat, we all can be proud of how we’ve helped protect this region. But this year has been like no other, and the challenges we face are increasing.
The Interior West is feeling pressure from every direction, and now more than ever, it’s on us all to ensure that the future we envision for this region stays within our reach. The most important way you can do this is by making sure you vote—and get everyone you know to vote.
In a new report, Conservation Colorado and Western Resource Advocates lay out a path for Colorado to protect and conserve 30% of its lands and waters by 2030.
Thirty years after we were founded, Western Resource Advocates has grown stronger, more nimble, and more effective—just when our communities need it most.
Recent changes in 2018 Farm Bill programs provide new opportunities to substantially reduce losses and conserve water through voluntary incentive measures that, if fully utilized, are essential to ensuring sustainability of the Colorado River.
Our 2018 annual report summarizes key successes we’ve made and a refined vision that charts a path to ensuring our vibrant communities in the West exist in balance with nature.
PG. 3 THE FUTURE OF REGIONAL ELECTRICITY MARKETS IN THE WESTERN INTERCONNECTION: ANALYSIS OF THE CALIFORNIA INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OPERATOR’S LATEST MARKET OFFERING IN THE CONTEXT OF RECENT FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION RULINGS
Jennifer E. Gardner
As most other regions of the country established regional electricity markets in the wake of FERC Orders 888, 889, and 2000, resulting in greater generator competition and wider transmission access through the establishment of Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) and Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”), the West has remained in a largely balkanized operating paradigm with 38 Balancing Authorities (“BAs”) and relatively minimal coordination. There is only one regional market operating today in the Western Interconnection – the real-time Western Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”). The EIM began market operations in November 2014 and is operated by the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”).
For a secure water future, water conservation and efficiency must be integrated into community planning and development. Western Resource Advocates teamed up with Pace University’s Land Use Law Center to develop a comprehensive Guidebook that provides land use planners with the resources necessary to fully integrate water efficiency into their land use planning efforts.
This white paper documents the information from a survey of several state reuse programs, with a focus on treatment and water quality requirements and allowed uses.
Our 2017 annual report showcases our work throughout the year which remains grounded in our vision for the West as a region where vibrant communities exist in balance with nature.
In our Fall 2017 newsletter learn about our effort to connect half our Western landscapes for thriving wildlife and unparalleled opportunities to recreate.
An analysis by Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado of the specific policies that Colorado should implement in order to drive carbon pollution reduction needed to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change and to meet the goals set by Governor Hicklenlooper’s executive order.
The Executive Summary of Colorado’s Climate Blueprint, an analysis by Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado of the specific policies that Colorado should implement in order to drive carbon pollution reduction needed to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.
Our 2016 annual report summarizes key successes we’ve made and a refined vision that charts a path to ensuring our vibrant communities in the West exist in balance with nature.
Jon Goldin-Dubois offers perspective on President Trump’s rollback of environmental protections and what the West can do to defend and advance the protection of land, air, and water.
We must ensure implementation of the plan in order to protect our rivers, accelerate urban conservation, improve aging agricultural infrastructure, and make water management more flexible.
WRA is working to ensure that electricity rates are smart for our wallets, our environment, our health, and our economy.
This guide is intended for water providers and community members interested in learning more about water quality protection during oil and gas development.
Through an extensive information-gathering process, Colorado Springs Utilities staff developed ten portfolios of different resources and investments to represent possible futures for the Colorado Springs electric system. Planning to address key risks and changing regulations while maintaining reliable, affordable electricity is essential.
This first-of-its-kind report focuses on the extent to which water connection charges are encouraging watersaving design in new construction and landscaping before ground is broken.
Colorado’s forward-looking energy policies have already, and will continue to, significantly reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, positioning Colorado to readily meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan gives Colorado tremendous flexibility to determine how to reduce carbon pollution, and the framework for ensuring compliance.
In this study, Western Resource Advocates evaluated the revenue-generation potential and the water, electricity, and natural gas savings that public entities can realize using performance contracting in the Colorado River Basin states.
Join Western Resource Advocates to protect public health and safety and our environment and stop the commercial development of the dirtiest of dirty fuels – oil shale and tar sands.
Identifies five innovative solutions that could eliminate Western water shortages stemming from the over-taxed and stressed Colorado River and meet the water needs of the West’s business, agricultural and growing population through 2060.
New energy policies in Colorado are resulting in less water needed for the energy generation sector.
This report presents a credit-based carbon dioxide emission rate reduction program for existing power plants including model regulatory language.
This report articulates why and how Western utilities can achieve conservation synergy by integrating water and energy efficiency programs.
Practical methods for community organizations to advance energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy.
This report is the second in a series outlining how Colorado can meet future water needs for 80% of the population without building large infrastructure projects or pipeline diversions.
A proposed alternative to the water supply project proposed by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District to protect the Poudre River, wetlands, communities and businesses while meeting future water needs of 15 towns and water districts in northern Colorado.
Fracking Our Future is the first report to provide a comprehensive measure of water and community health impacts from hydraulic fracturing in Colorado.
WRA has produced the definitive guide to oil shale in the West and its potential effects on water, land and air quality, and local economies.
Using case studies, this report highlights the close ties among energy, drought, and water use in the Intermountain West; clean energy policies that reduced the energy sector’s water use and exposure to drought; and, finally, recommendations for mitigating the impact of future droughts on the West’s energy sector.
This report shows that for the first time in 20 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electric power sector have leveled off and have even begun to decline in the Intermountain West.
In this document, we highlight regulators’ and utilities’ efforts to integrate water into resource planning.
The enormous amounts of water used to generate electricity aren’t being taken into account when utilities make plans to meet future energy generation needs. This report lays out the facts of energy’s water costs and recommends ways to address them.
This report offers a realistic and balanced water supply and conservation strategies to meet the projected needs of the Colorado’s Front Range communities while protecting healthy rivers, economy, and quality of life.
This fact sheet outlines strategies to address energy use in the water sector and highlights some of the Colorado communities that are making the connection today.
A study of the economics behind the proposed Flaming Gorge pipeline, commissioned by WRA, reveals that it would produce the most expensive water ever seen in Colorado.
This report examines two options now confronting the West and how they could play out: the region chooses to invest in modernizing the grid moving toward a clean energy future, or it continues to spend money on the grid in a business-as-usual manner.
This report by Western Resource Advocates and Environmental Defense Fund illustrates why legislation is needed to curtail the risk climate change poses to western water supplies and highlights the water-energy nexus. The report provides detailed measures to include in a well-designed national climate and clean energy policy that will safeguard the West’s water.
One out every four electricity customers in the nation gets their power from electrical co-ops or small electrical utilities. This report focuses on how these suppliers can create cost-effective, energy efficiency programs with robust community participation.
A close review of economic data reveals that potential economic benefits of oil shale are far different than what proponents claim.
A report prepared for WRA by Dr. Cutler Cleveland questions oil shale’s energy return, showing oil shale is, at best, a marginal energy source and may not produce any more energy than is consumed in the process to turn it into fuel.
This groundbreaking report is the first to catalog the extensive holdings of water rights in western Colorado that could be used for oil shale development.
Planning, Building, and Living Water-Smart strategies and model case studies for the arid Intermountain West.
To ensure the benefits of clean energy are fully realized, Westerners and resource managers must work together to develop the transmission network needed to link wind, solar and geothermal energy to existing grids and to ensure they have equal footing with fossil fuel sources. Some of the key planning principles to achieve this are outlined in this publication.