Crowdfunding For Local Power Campaign Gets Nearly $200,000 On IndieGogo

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Local power from clean energy resources has a way of exciting people. Something about alighting from the monopolistic utility system while also alighting from the era of dirty energy gets people’s blood moving. One recent IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign is yet another testament to that. The campaign, aimed at creating “a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future,” had a fundraising target of $40,000 over the course of the 30-day fundraising period. The campaign raised $193,018, and it’s still raising money through a donations page.

Great video — I’m sure that didn’t hurt. Really, I’d highly recommend watching the video. But if you have some kind of issue with video, here’s an extended excerpt about the story and project from the IndieGogo page:

A Landmark Model to Fight Climate Change

We have a rare opportunity to create a turning point for the climate movement, and we need your help to overpower the one thing that stands in our way. Boulder is on the verge of taking the biggest step it can to combat climate change–but the coal industry is prepared to spend whatever it takes to stop us, and to keep other communities from getting ideas and getting organized. Defeating the coal industry is as much about our community as it is about yours–which is why we need your help, and fast.

Boulder wants to break away from our current, coal-dominated utility–Xcel Energy–to create a local electric utility based on renewable energy. Feasibility studies have shown we could reduce our carbon emissions by over 50% immediately by shifting to cleaner energy. And we wouldn’t have to pay more than we do now, because we could afford a lot more renewable energy if we’re not paying for Xcel’s enormous profit margins. This is an incredible opportunity to create a landmark model for how communities all over the country can take control of their energy future.

Only one thing stands in our way: to stop us, Xcel Energy has helped place a misleading measure on our fall ballot that would kill our local electric utility process dead in its tracks– and they’re probably prepared to spend a lot to win. They know our victory would inspire communities across the country to follow suit and create their own cleaner, cheaper utilities based on renewable energy. They don’t want other communities wondering what they could afford if they stop paying millions in profits to the utility industry.

To win, we have to out-organize Xcel–which we did in 2011, when our city decided to go down this path. But Xcel didn’t see us coming that time, which is why we need a bigger campaign this year to reach more voters. Boulder voters already said they wanted to create a local utility–this year, it’s a matter of making sure we turn them all out to the polls.

That’s why we need help from beyond Boulder. This needs to be the moment when we overpower the coal industry and make Boulder a real model for communities to credibly address the climate crisis.

Contribute to our issue committee to move us–all of us–forward, to create the turning point. Help us keep our democracy and our planet out of the hands of the highest bidder.

The whole story

Back in 2011, our community did something no other community had ever done before: we voted to explore taking control of our power supply for the sole purpose of lowering our impact on the planet. Xcel Energy spent nearly $1 million dollars on that election, but lost–because a committed group of community advocates and a small nonprofit that engages young people in politics won the day. Outspent 10-to-1, the grassroots coalition registered voters, knocked on doors, and made thousands of phone calls.

With voter approval, the city launched an extensive analysis and found that it could get cleaner, cheaper power that was just as reliable all on its own.

But now, Xcel is back, with a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks. Their ballot measure is masquerading as a way to reduce government debt, but it’s really just a dirty trick–the measure includes impossible, even illegal, requirements that would stall out the very process voters already approved.

They’re back to undermine our local process, because the city’s findings made it clear that they stand to lose more than the $35 million dollars in profits they make annually from Boulder. They know that Boulder is on the verge of setting a precedent of national significance that would threaten not just Xcel, but the very core of the coal energy’s business model–not to mention that industry’s billions of dollars in profits.

We out-organized them in 2011, and we know we can again in 2013 if we have the resources to achieve the reach we need. Boulder has already voted to move forward–this fight is about keeping the coal industry from holding us back.

Our campaign

This grassroots campaign is going to need a lot more resources than the goal we’ve set for this Indiegogo. But our goal is what we need to get our efforts off the ground in a strong way to make sure our movement lays the groundwork it needs to win in November.

Your donation today will ensure our success tomorrow.

The only way we’ll be able to counter the money Xcel Energy is likely poised to dump in our community on a fear campaign is with grassroots organizing. Because the only way to counter money in politics is with people. Your funding will help us:

  • Train young community organizers to recruit volunteers and build climate leaders to connect with voters

  • Register to vote and turn out thousands of voters leading up to Election Day on November 5th

  • Run large-scale door-to-door canvasses and phonebanks where our volunteer base will talk to voters one by one

  • Develop a message and produce effective materials that break through Xcel’s well-orchestrated and expensive fear campaign

  • Produce ads and communications that get our message out there in a clear, persuasive voice

  • Host events throughout the community to get the real facts out there

  • Run a creative non-traditional campaign to ensure voters clearly understand this is just another example of how corporations undermine our democracy to protect their profits

There more fun stuff on the IndieGogo page, so I recommend checking that out if you’re craving more.

And if you just want to jump in and help out now, you can: donate moneyvolunteercontact.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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