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BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

Docket No16A-0396E

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY OF


COLORADO FOR APPROVAL OF ITS 2016 ELECTRIC RESOURCE PLAN

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, LOCAL # 111’S COMMENTS ON


120-DAY REPORT

COMES NOW the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #111 (“Local

111” or “the Local”) and comments upon the 2016 Electric Resource Plan 120-Day Report (June
Colorado PUC E-Filings System

6, 2018)(“the 120-Day Report) and the “Economic Impacts of the Preferred Colorado Energy

Plan”, June 20, 2018 (the “Leeds Study”) .

I. INTRODUCTION

WHEN PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY OF COLORADO (“PSCO”) MOVED TO INCLUDE THE

“COLORADO ENERGY PLAN” in its proposed resource plan last August after completion of the

Phase I proceedings that had set the parameters for bidding and evaluation of a proposed

competitive acquisition process to “fill the future capacity and energy needs of the system over

an 8-year Resource Acquisition Period . . .”1 Local 111 was one of the parties that objected. Its

objections were dismissed in Decision No. C17-0796-I, but Local 111 believes that the 120-Day

Report more than vindicates its earlier position – the “Preferred Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio”

1
Attachment AKJ-1, Hearing Exhibit 101, Page 7 of 76.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,
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(“CEPP”) for which PSCo now advocates hollows out the concept of “best value employment

metrics” to meaningless generalities. In accepting PSCo’s argument that “best value

employment metrics” are limited to “construction or expansion of generation facilities,”

(Decision No. C17-0796-I, ¶46), the Commission read out of the statute half of its applicability.

It ignored the legislative direction to consider best value employment metrics in Commission

decisions “[w]hen evaluating electric resource acquisitions . . .,” separate and distinct from

“requests for a certificate of convenience and necessity for construction or expansion of

generation facilities . . .,” as well as undervaluing the direction to consider “employment and the

long-term economic viability” of communities. Appendix C of the Report illustrates the

inadequacy of the evaluation of best value employment metrics provided by PSCo.

With additional protections for high-value employment and the communities which will

lose (and gain) jobs, Local 111 believes that resource acquisition proposals that may be made in

the future that are similar to the Preferred Colorado Energy Plan Portfolio or the Alternative

Preferred CEPP may someday provide a valuable tool for moving forward with PSCo’s energy

resource acquisition: As presented, however, both plans fall short of acceptable.

II. COMMENTS ON THE 120-DAY REPORT

A. THE “BEST VALUE EMPLOYMENT METRICS” SET OUT IN THE HIGHLY


CONFIDENTIAL APPENDIX C MAKE A MOCKERY OF THE LEGISLATIVE DETERMINATION
THAT THE COMMISSION NEEDS TO CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM ECONOMIC IMPACT OF
EMPLOYMENT UNDER THE PROPOSED PLANS.

WHEN LOCAL 111’S COUNSEL AND SEVERAL OF LOCAL 111’S STAFF SIGNED “HIGHLY

CONFIDENTIAL” NDAS, WE EXPECTED that would require that our comments also be “highly

confidential” so that we could address truly “confidential” bidding data. No such luck. The

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,


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“best value employment metric” information set out in the 120-Day Report is so thoroughly

generic that there is nothing confidential for the Local either to disclose or conceal. Nor is there

any real information that would allow the Commission to evaluate the impact of the bidders’

employment policies on the long-term viability of Colorado’s communities. (C.R.S. § 40-2-

129). The legislature didn’t demand that “best value employment metrics” determine the

successful bidder, but it did demand that, at the least, employment metrics (with their impact on

long-term economic viability) be of sufficient quality to allow a qualitative evaluation of the

resource acquisition plan, separate from a (later) assessment in the CPCN process. That isn’t

what the 120-Day Report provides.

Thus, there are eight projects in the Preferred CEPP that would not be owned by PSCo

and that would, in part, take the place of the existing Comanche Units 1 and 2, facilities that

currently have a known and determinable positive impact on the long-term viability of the

Pueblo community2. Of those eight projects, two (from a single IPP) identify a “compensation

range” – just for project development and construction work – that is identified only as “$20 and

up/hour3” and says nothing about training opportunities, use of Colorado labor, long-term career

opportunities, or pay or benefits once the plants are in operation. And those are among the more

2
There are 80-90 well-paid Local 111 bargaining unit jobs that will be lost from the
Comanche plant under either version of the CEPP. Many of the individuals holding those jobs
will be lost to the Pueblo community. While PSCo offers broad assurances that it will work with
the Local to address these issues, it offers not a single specific proposal.
3
Colorado’s median household income for 2012 - 2016 was $62,520. $20/hour for full
time work would represent an income of $21,600. What does that income do for, or to, the long-
term economic viability of the community?
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,
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informative bids.

Three of the preferred CEPP bids are from a single company that assures us that its

salaries are “competitive in the industry and commensurate with experience,” with “a

Competitive Benefits Package.” (“Competitive” and “commensurate with experience” are

scarcely even ordinal descriptors in a situation that demands cardinal numbers – What salaries

and what benefits are “competitive” or “commensurate with experience”? Minimum wage?

$25/hour? $50? Do the “competitive” health benefits more closely resemble an ACA Exchange

bronze plan, or a gold? What is the employer-match structure of its 401(k) plan?) We are also

assured that the small number of projected operations and maintenance employees will “have the

opportunity to establish a career with [the Employer], which offers competitive salaries, full

benefits packages that includes medical, dental and vision insurance, 401K and pension

retirement plans, and paid vacation and holidays,” but without any specific information about

what this employer views as a “competitive” salary and the nature of the actual benefit designs

within those “full benefits packages,” we are confronted with the functional equivalent of an

assurance that the bidder’s check is in the mail. (And of what does “the opportunity” consist? Is

there specific training for specific jobs? How many openings for long-term jobs are in the

communities where plants will be built are anticipated?) The economic impact of the Preferred

CEPP’s proposed dispersed energy generation development rests in great measure on actual

numbers – how much money will flow to employees; how many jobs will be gained (or lost) in

local communities? Generalizations about “opportunities” for “competitive” salaries and “full”

benefits omit that information.

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One preferred CEPP bidder will “work closely” to maximize its “enormous” employment

benefits (which it defines as five full-time jobs once construction is complete, representing a

peculiar definition of “enormous”.) Another’s entire description of available training programs

is that its employees are “encouraged to participate in training courses . . .” (What kinds of

training courses? What form of encouragement?) and it offers (an undisclosed amount of) tuition

reimbursement to employees after six months.4 Its long-term career opportunities are available

to “industry professionals as needed”; it doesn’t project employment numbers (either for the

construction phase or operations) and describes its pay practices as “industry standard” (a term

that, like “competitive,” tells the Commission nothing), and its list of available benefits (except

for some specificity as to its ungenerous §401(k) match) is just that – a list, with no information

upon which to evaluate the economic value of that list.

The most detailed bid promises a “multi-tiered compensation package to encourage

employees to excel [that] includes competitive base pay, an opportunity to earn annual

bonuses, performance-based increases in pay, long-term incentive programs when eligible,

medical, dental, vision, life, and disability benefits.” (This bid also offers some specifics about

its fringe benefit plans, although even it does not provide enough for a full analysis of the

economic impact of its bid, particularly because it didn’t include any projection of ultimate full-

4
These aren’t difficult or obscure questions. Collective bargaining agreements routinely
lay out the specifics of training incentives for bargaining unit employees. So do most public
employers, whether dealing with a unionized workforce or not. See e.g. “Tuition Reimbursement
–Colorado.gov,”
https://www.google.com/search?q=colorado+state+government+tuition+reimbursement+progra
ms&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab
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time employment.)

Significantly, none of the bids discuss the continuity of jobs offered, a critical component

for evaluating the long-term economic impacts of either the Preferred or Alternative CEPP:

Both quantitative and qualitative impacts should be taken into account: as


important as the number of jobs created in a specific area is their continuity. This
depends on, both, the stage of the renewable energy project and the type of
renewable technology considered. For example, employment creation and
income generation during the construction stage is significant, but generally
temporary. In contrast, local employment creation in the O&M stage is more
permanent but modest, particularly in the case of wind farms.

Assessing the Impact of Renewable Energy Deployment on Local Sustainability: Towards

a Theoretical Framework, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 12 at 1336

(2008), http://energy-dialogue.org/publications/assessing-the-impact-of-renewable.pdf. 5

At the same time, PSCo’s own assurances provide no more hard information about the

impact of the early retirement of Comanche 1 and 2 on Pueblo, with its loss of approximately 80-

90 Local 111 bargaining unit positions. The point was made last year, but bears repeating: Even

if PSCo avoids laying off individuals, the larger impact on the community is undisputable.

There were 26 full-time bargaining unit employees at the Cameo Station in 2004 and none there

now. Whatever the current employment status of those 26 individuals, Palisade lost those well-

paid jobs.

5
“The paper concludes that the [Clean Development Mechanism] in its current state and
design has typically failed to deliver the promised benefits with regard to development objectives
in rural areas. Successful projects were found to have had good community involvement and such
projects were typically managed by cooperative ventures rather than money making corporations.”
Srikanth Subbarao, Bob Lloyd, “Can the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) deliver?” Energy
Policy,Volume 39, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 1600-1611.
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When the Legislature directed the Commission to consider factors that “affect

employment and the long-term economic viability of Colorado communities” in evaluating

resource acquisition, it surely did not expect that even a qualitative analysis would not begin with

some actual numbers and, indeed, be entirely bereft of them, and that the Commission would be

forced to rest exclusively on bland and generic assurances of “competitive” wages and generic

descriptions of classes of fringe benefits. The 120-Day Report provides handy evidence of the

mere lip-service paid to the role of best value employment metrics and the impact of

employment metrics on community viability in its illustrative flow chart set out at § 6.2.4 of the

Report as an overview of the Bid Evaluation Process – best value employment metrics don’t

merit a mention, nor are best value employment metrics given so much as a nod in the

Independent Evaluator report that was filed on July 16.

B. THE 120-REPORT OMITS CONSIDERATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF


INCREASINGLY DISPERSED GENERATION.

AMONG THE POSITIVE FEATURES OF THE PREFERRED CEPP that the 120-Day Report

repeatedly identifies is the dispersion of generation facilities. However, while the report

addresses the economics of connecting that energy to existing transmission facilities, and the

environmental benefits of a move toward increased renewable energy, it never connects the two

issues: What are the environmental impacts of connecting dispersed generation facilities to

existing (and new) transmission?

All energy conversion methods used to produce electricity have some


environmental impact. The impact may have an active effect like the emission
of airborne pollutants, or may have a passive effect like aesthetics or habitat
modification. Even methods considered environmentally friendly, like wind,
solar, and hydro, have some impact on the environment. Not only does the

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,


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final production of electricity have an environmental impact. The transmission
of electricity with concerns over electromagnetic fields, aesthetics, and land
use, also impacts the environment.
“Distributed Generation Education Modules,” http://www.dg.history.vt.edu/ch2/impact.html

(Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).6 There are unidentified environmental

costs to both the Preferred and Alternative CEPP.

This omission is telling because failing to consider the environmental costs (and not just

benefits) associated with switching to renewable energy obscures the broader, overall impact of

the switch to renewable energy and clouds much of the discussion of the merits of the Preferred

and Alternative CEPP. Although the idea of switching to renewable resources is intuitively

appealing, particularly because of our increased awareness of the costs of air pollution and

climate change, it is also well-established that solar energy, for example, comes with significant

environmental costs of its own:

Materials used in some solar systems can create health and safety hazards for
workers and anyone else coming into contact with them. In particular, the
manufacturing of photovoltaic cells often requires hazardous materials such as
arsenic and cadmium. Even relatively inert silicon, a major material used in solar
cells, can be hazardous to workers if it is breathed in as dust.

[P]hotovoltaic-based systems require exotic inputs, some of which -- such as


cadmium sulphide -- are toxic and explosive. . . [B]oth types of solar energy
systems would generate significant concentrations of problematic water pollutants,
including antifreeze agents, rust inhibitors, and heavy metals leached from the
system. There shall also be indirect generation of water pollutants via the use of
herbicides to deter excessive vegetation growth around the collectors. Some other
adverse impacts of central solar systems are permanent use of a large land area; no
reclamation until the plant is decommissioned; generation of non-recyclables

6
While the CEPP doesn’t advocate for what is generally described as “dispersed
generation,” its design does, in fact, disperse generation to a much greater degree than does the
Preferred ERP.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,
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during decommissioning: fiberglass, glass, coolant, insulations; in PV-based
systems, additional disposal problems would be caused by cadmium and arsenic;
hazard to eyesight from reflectors, hazard from toxicants in coolant fluids; soil
erosion and compaction; wind diversion; [and] potential decrease in evaporation
rate from soil.

“Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy,” Int’l Journal of Emerging Trends in

Engineering and Development, Issue 2, Vol. 4 at 162 (May 2012), available at

http://rspublication.com/ijeted/may-12/17.pdf. In his book, Environmental Impacts of

Renewable Energy,7 Frank Spelman discusses some additional environmental effects of

switching to solar energy:

The PV [photovoltaic] cell manufacturing process includes a number of hazardous


materials, such as compounds of cadmium (Cd), selenium (Se), and lead (Pb), and
there are concerns about potential emissions at the end of a module’s useful life.
Managing the disposal and/or recycling of these materials to avoid groundwater
contamination (via landfills) and air pollution (via incinerators) is an important
environmental consideration. Another important consideration is that in creating
millions of solar panels each year millions of pounds of polluted sludge and
contaminated water are produced. To dispose of the material properly, the
producers must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste
facilities hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of miles away. The fossil fuels
used to transport that waste are not typically considered in calculating solar’s
carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to
gauge a product’s impact on global climate change the impression that solar is
cleaner than it is.

Likewise, wind energy carries its own environmental and health costs, which the

Commission is required to weigh:

Although there are few studies specifically focused on the noise effects of wind
energy facilities on birds, bats, and other wildlife, scientific evidence regarding
the effects of other noise sources (e.g., transportation) is widely documented. The

7
Frank R. Spelman, PhD, Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy, CRC Press at 87-88
(2014) (“Spelman”).

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results show. . . that varying sources and levels of noise can affect both the
sending and receiving of important acoustic signaling and sounds. This can also
cause behavioral modifications in certain species of birds and bats such as
decreased foraging and mating success and overall avoidance of noisy areas. The
inaudible frequencies of sound may also have negative impacts on wildlife. . . .

It has been widely reported that wind turbines are creating sounds and vibrations
that can be sensed by people up to 10 miles away. Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD, is
reporting that people who live within 2 kilometers of wind turbines are reporting
sickness that can be traced to the presence of these. Low frequency noise and
infrasound (sound that is less than 20 Hz) appear to be the problem. The problem
that Pierpont and others have reported is commonly called wind turbine
syndrome, which is the disruption or abnormal stimulation of the inner ear’s
vestibular system caused by turbine infrasound and low-frequency noise.
Symptoms of wind turbine syndrome include the following:

• Sleep problems
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Exhaustion, anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression
• Problems with concentration and learning
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) . . .

Another increasing complaint being heard concerning wind turbine noise


generation is related to high levels of low-frequency noise over years of exposure.
This problem is called vibroacoustic disease (VAD). The clinical progression is
insidious, and lesions are found in many systems throughout the body. . .

Spelman at 52, 54.

And, in a related point, the Report similarly doesn’t take into account the transportation

needs of these dispersed workers, either the ones who will be working in small Colorado

communities or the Local 111 bargaining unit members who will (if the past is prologue) be

offered jobs with long commutes from their current homes if they do not take some form of early

retirement or buy-out. Employees who now live and work in Pueblo may (if they are like the

employees whose jobs were lost in other PSCo plants) start to commute dozens of miles every

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day, with an unmeasured and unacknowledged environmental impact.

C. THE 120-REPORT
DOWNPLAYS BOTH THE ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY OF LONG-
TERM PROJECTIONS AND THE RELATIVELY EARLY STATE OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT BOTH
ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF INCREASED RELIANCE ON WIND AND
SOLAR FARMS AND BATTERY STORAGE TECHNOLOGY.

IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL OBSERVATION THAT THE FURTHER OUT A PROJECTION is made, the

less reliable it is likely to be.8 (Discount rates which, by their nature, are supposed to predict the

future, vary sufficiently widely to be lumped more closely with magic than with projection, and

the further out the date to which the discount rate is applied, the less accurate it is likely to be. If

the 120-Day report default rate of 6.78% is used to determine costs and benefits for decades in

the future, one can only note that in 1981 the discount rate peaked at roughly 14% and has gone

as low in the decades since as .75%.9) This helps explain why electric resource plans are

8
The testimony of Charles Griffey in the AD/RR docket, PROCEEDING NO. 17A-0797E,
provides a detailed discussion of this issue specifically in the energy resource arena; the
observation applies, indeed, throughout economic planning. See, e.g., Jeff Stibel, “Why We
Can’t Predict Financial Markers,” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 2009. (“The future, like any
complex problem, has far too many variables to be predicted. Quantitative models, historical
models, even psychic models have all been tried — and have all failed.”)

Unpredictable occurrences – technological change; natural events, political upheavals –


tend to undercut long-term projections. “All projections are based on assumptions around some
set of variables and are vulnerable to error, or the variability in predictable factors, as well as
uncertainty stemming from unforeseeable circumstances. Because error and uncertainty grow as
the projection horizon is lengthened, in some cases, lengthening the window is not useful and
can degrade decision making.” Henry J. Aaron, “The Economics and Politics of Long-term
Budget Projections,” Hutchins Center Working Papers, Brookings Institute (2014).
9
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/INTDSRUSM193N

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required every few years: If 25-year projections were considered reliable, new ERPs would only

need to be made every 25 years. This is true both of the economics and the environmental

impact of different patterns of resource acquisition – “projections” for 2034 made in 2018 are

better called guesses than projections. As has already been discussed, we know some of the

environmental impacts of large-scale windfarms – they create both mechanical and aerodynamic

noise10 which may not be too great a problem when built in sparsely populated areas, but who is

to say that where a windfarm is built on an open plain today, there will not be a population center

in 20 years? Migrating birds and animals may be killed or have their breeding patterns

disrupted.11 A number of studies have suggested that large windfarms may cause local climate

change.12 Studies of large scale solar farms are even more rare than well-vetted ones of wind

farms, but tend to suggest that solar farms create many of the same kinds of problems at their

own sites – impact on local climate and local wildlife – but also rely on intense energy use and

toxic materials in their construction, and energy drains that may negate (or certainly limit) the

10
Dennis Y.C. Leung∗ , Yuan Yang, “Wind energy development and its environmental
impact: A review,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16 (2012), 2031-2039; Lee S,
Kim K, Choi W., “Annoyance caused by amplitude modulation of wind turbine noise,” Noise
Control Engineering Journal 2011;59(1):38–46; Punch J, James R, Pabst D. “Wind-turbine noise:
what audiologists should know,” Audiology Today 2010;8:20–31
11
Minor disruptions in ecosystems have a way of magnifying over time. In 1935, cane
toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in an effort to control two native beetle
populations that were harming local sugar crops. With no natural predators, the toads have
multiplied to the edge of ecological disaster.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_toads_in_Australia#Ecological_effects.
12
Leung and Yang, supra, 1037-1038 and studies cited therein.

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environmental benefits of solar over traditional energy generation.13 And the Independent

Evaluator notes how little PSCo knows about the battery storage projects included in the CEPP:

While the IE found the ranking of Proposals with storage provided significant
value for ratepayers, this departure from expectations demanded extra caution by
the IE and PSCo. The IE reviewed in detail the evaluation assumptions prior to
the acceptance of Proposals. . . . This review highlighted that the evaluation tools
available to PSCo were limited when employed for evaluating battery storage
proposals.

Independent Evaluator Report, p. 14. It is estimated that the Preferred CEPP would be

responsible for 40% of the total battery storage available in the United States (Griffey Surrebuttal

testimony. Proceeding No. 17A-0797E at pp. 25 – 27), despite PSCo’s admitted lack of

experience with the technology. “The environmental impacts of battery production and disposal

. . . are substantial and may overwhelm any environmental benefits of zero-emission wind and

solar power.” James Taylor, “Batteries Impose Hidden Environmental Costs for Wind and Solar

Power,” Forbes, August 17, 2017,

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2017/08/17/batteries-impose-hidden-environmental-

costs-for-wind-and-solar-power/ . Solar panels and lithium batteries are also on the list of

Chinese goods now subject to high tariffs in America – Do we know the impact of those tariffs

13
See., e.g., Alona Armstrong, Susan Waldron, Jeanette Whitaker, Nicholas J. Ostle,
“Wind farm and solar park effects on plant–soil carbon cycling: uncertain impacts of changes in
ground‐level microclimate,” Global Change Biology (2014) 20, 1699-1706.

Questions about how much energy it takes to produce energy have dogged the discussion
of ethanol for decades, and have not been resolved. See e.g. Joshua Rhodes, “The Ethanol
Debate Matters, But Is Unlikely To Change,” Forbes (2/25/2018),
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuarhodes/2018/02/25/the-ethanol-debate-matters-but-is-
unlikely-to-change/#4bd972ae5e26. Similar questions bedevil the manufacture of solar panels.
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on the battery storage projects in the CEPP? And have we got a handle on the environmental

impact of mining the lithium that will be used in those batteries?

These are questions, not answers, and Colorado’s commitment to movement in the

direction of sustainable energy sources is firm. But a strong commitment should not be confused

with a headlong rush. The only law that is unbreakable is the law of unexpected

consequences: The CEPP is a proposal for a radical transformation of Colorado’s energy profile

in a short time span, and the only thing of which the Commission and the public can be sure is

that the longer the timeline for its projected benefits, the more likely it is that the projections will

be wrong. At a minimum, this suggests a preference for the more incremental Alternative CEPP

or, more practically, acceptance of the preferred ERP, with the coming years dedicated to better

study and more robust modelling of the economic and environmental impacts of alternative

energy production so that planning for a proposal like the CEPP (if appropriate) can be

incorporated into the Phase I process and not introduced after modelling and bidding criteria

have been set.

III. COMMENTS ON THE LEEDS STUDY

WHETHER AN INTENTIONAL PIECE OF ADVOCACY or simply a less-than-helpful exercise,

the Leeds Study poses more questions than it answers, and the absence of discovery in this Phase

II proceeding leaves little opportunity to resolve the issues other than by rejecting the report’s

conclusions. The study is designed to “examine[] the Preferred Colorado Energy Plan compared

to the Preferred Electric Resource Plan.” (Leeds Study, p. 1) However, the persistent reporting

only of comparative projections effectively makes true comparisons impossible, and minimal

quantitative information about the analytic tools clouds realistic review. Thus at p. 2 of the
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report, it is stated that

Over 23 years, the Preferred Colorado Energy Plan results in 549 more jobs on
average compared to the Preferred Electric Resource Plan, of which 133 are in
Pueblo County.
These statements suggest at least the following questions:

a. Raw (relative) numbers of “jobs created” tells the Commission almost nothing

about the economic impact of the jobs and therefore the impact on the long-term

viability of communities, which is what C.R.S. § 40-2-129 requires it to consider.

The “549 more jobs on average [sic]” is driven almost entirely by the spike in

construction work at the start of the CEPP, work that goes away when the

construction is completed and a handful of employees (whose pay and benefits are

described only in the broadest terms in the Highly Confidential Appendix C to the

120-Day report) are hired on to operate and maintain the new generation units. If

you omit Years 1-5, there is only a net average (relative) job increase of 151 for

the CEPP over the Preferred ERP, which needs to be balanced against the

significant (relative) job loss in years 16-20 (Study, Table 1), a (relative) job loss

figure is, in turn, driven largely by the foregone combined cycle capital

investments projected under the ERP (Study, p. 12). But how many jobs, in total

(including operations and maintenance), and of what quality and distribution does

the REMI model predict for each of the Preferred ERP and the Preferred CEPP?

Impossible to tell, yet that is how job creation affects the long-term viability of

communities.

Construction work typically fuels boom-and-bust cycles which can be


International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,
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inimical to long-term economic viability. At a minimum, a more granular look at

the kinds of jobs (and what they pay) for each of the Preferred ERP and the

Preferred CEPP is needed to make sense of the Leeds Study’s jobs projections.14

b. The lack of transparency in the employment numbers and the characteristics of

the projected jobs is aggravated by the failure to explain the difference between

the (relative to the ERP) “Total Employment” and (relative to the ERP) “Private

Non-Farm Employment” numbers. (Study, Table 1). What is included in “Total

Employment” that is excluded from “Private Non-Farm Employment,” and why is

there a wide range in the size of the (relative) difference in the five listed time-

segments? (Notably, there is a larger negative differential in Years 16 – 20,

while the differential in the other years ranges from small (Years 1 – 5) to quite

large, on a percentage basis (Years 21-23.)) Which are the (missing) jobs that

create a more negative (relative) impact in the 4th segment? (Are these

construction jobs, associated with the foregone combined cycle capital

investment? There isn’t really enough detail stated to say. But if this is the

explanation, it suggests a larger negative impact from the loss of those jobs under

14
The economic dangers of boom-and-bust development are well-described in a 2012
Denver Post commentary on the 30th anniversary of Exxon pulling the plug on Western Slope oil
shale development. “30 years after Exxon’s oil shale bust in Colorado,” Gulliford, Andrew, The
Denver Post, May 3, 2012. After decades to recover from the precipitous loss of jobs, “[w]here
small farms and sustainability once characterized the Colorado River Valley, towns in the area
now welcome moderately sized industries and a living wage. New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute
are communities with a strong work ethic. Residents want good jobs.”
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the CEPP, and suggests that the Preferred ERP may provide a more even

distribution of well-paid jobs over the life of the projection.) And does this figure

(or, for that matter, that for “Total Employment”) represent an absolute loss of

jobs, or only a smaller gain under the CEPP as compared to the ERP? Surely, that

matters for purposes of determining the relative impact of the plans on the long-

term viability of communities. Are communities in which combined cycle

generation will not be built going to suffer absolute losses, or only gain less?

The Executive Summary further states at p. 2 that


Real GDP increases by an average of $57.8 million during the study period and
an increase of $48.2 million in disposable personal income when including the
dynamic economic impact on the economy.
These numbers have the same problems that the employment numbers do in terms of the

timeline of the reported increases, including the heavily front-loaded benefits during the

construction-boom portion of the CEPP. Indeed, it is notable that the GDP number actually turns

negative in the last 11 years of the forecast for the state although, again without adequate

explanation, increases dramatically for Pueblo in the last three years (or four, based on Figure

8).15 Take away the Year 1-5 and Year 21-23 GDP bumps in Pueblo, and the CEPP has a

negative GDP impact (-$1.6 million during those middle 15 years.) If Pueblo is going to

15 The “explanation” that “the spikes and dips in economic activity are largely due to
timing—specifically the change in activity (capital expenditures, operating expenditures, and
revenue requirements) compared to the baseline scenario” (Study, p. 2) is an observation, not an
explanation: Why does the CEPP “yield economic drag for the state and Pueblo County compared
to the Preferred [ERP] . . .” in some periods? And, again, is “economic drag” an absolute
measurement, or just one relative to a (presumptively, better) ERP?
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experience a negative GDP impact for 15 years under the CEPP as compared to the ERP, this

requires more explanation than attributing it to a “change in activity.” Given this pattern, it

would have been particularly useful, or even necessary, to see the raw numbers for each of the

ERP and CEPP: A plan (by way of example) demonstrating a projected steady growth in GDP

might be preferable, at least under the kind of qualitative analysis called for by statute, and better

for the long-term viability of the community, to one with an explosive beginning and a positive

end point.

The end period increase in Pueblo GDP is driven by projected increases in operating

expenditures in Pueblo at the same time as there is a relatively dramatic decrease state-wide.

Without referencing the model from which this projection is drawn, it is difficult to evaluate it,

but it isn’t obvious from where those increased expenditures are expected to come, following on

a projected 10-year decline in operating expenditures. The Study’s statement that “ . . . Colorado

sees an increase in operating expenditures” (Study, p. 6) is, again, an observation, not an

explanation, and isn’t borne out by Figure 4, which shows decreased operating expenditures

from 2020 on, and leaves the question of why Figure 6 shows increased operating expenditures

in Pueblo beginning in 2035. What are the “increase[] in operating expenditures” that Colorado

is expected to see?

There is a similar question and a similar pattern for “Disposable Personal Income” –

Why is there a jump in the final three years, both in Pueblo and, even more dramatically,

statewide? (With all of these numbers, we know why they are high in Years 1-5: Construction.

What happens at the end of Year 20 to bump the numbers that are favorable to the CEPP back

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,


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up?16) And why does the relative advantage to the CEPP in Disposable Personal Income jump in

Years 21 – 23 when the relative GDP is significantly negative, and the relative advantage in job

numbers is small? Where, indeed, did that final $53.2 million advantage to the CEPP in

Disposable Personal Income come from?

IV. CONCLUSION

IBEW 111 OPPOSED THE LATE INTRODUCTION of the CEPP into the resource planning

process because the Phase I process hadn’t anticipated it and the process wasn’t well designed to

elicit all the relevant information that the legislature introduced into the resource acquisition

process in C.R.S. §40-2-129. The outcome of the process, as represented by the 120-Day

Report, vindicates the Local’s fears: The evaluation criteria established in Phase I are inadequate

for a full evaluation of the proposed portfolios: At best, the criteria do nothing to inform the

Commission, and at worst, the criteria obscure and skew the analysis in favor of PSCo’s

preferred portfolio. Unless PSCo proposes some way to correct these deficiencies, and in light

16
Figures 4-7 in the Study suggest both an answer, and additional questions. It would
appear that the Figures reflect a direct relation between expenditures on the one hand and
employment and GDP on the other, and an inverse relation between revenue requirement and
either measure, and that revenue requirements (may) go down at the tail end of the study period
when the amortization of the capital assets built early on is completed, generating projected non-
sector economic benefits. (Whether it is reasonable even to attempt to project non-sector economic
benefits 20 years from now is, perhaps, another question – but if projections like this are made,
they should play into the qualitative evaluation and, to do that, they need a better foundation than
the Study gives them.)

And in any event, the Study offers no explanation for why (under this reading) revenue
requirements increase between 2031-2033 (gray, below the line, segments on the bar graph), nor
why operating expenditures relative to the ERP also increase from 2025 – 2035, and then decline.
It is not enough to say that this is what was input into the model: These are data points that require
some elucidation.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,
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of them, Local 111 urges the Commission either to approve the Preferred ERP portfolio as the

only one with an actual and known (likely) impact or, at the least, adopt the more measured

“Alternative CEPP,” as opposed to the “Preferred CEPP,” to permit a gradual transition away

from PSCo’s current system.

In Peter Hall’s seminal work Great Planning Disasters, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980,

the author of this “pathology of planning” warns, ultimately, against planning decisions that are

overly ambitious and proposes that such decisions be scaled down to changes that can be

achieved in manageable increments, so that success can be defined by the steps that are taken

and not by increasingly hypothetical triumphs in a distant future. As Colorado moves away from

a coal-heavy energy generation mix to one that is predominantly reliant on renewable resources,

the Commission has been directed by the legislature to consider the economic impact of the

changing employment mix this move represents. To do so, it should heed the ancient advice to

“make haste slowly” and reject the headlong change that the Preferred CEPP represents.

Respectfully submitted,

BUESCHER, KELMAN, PERERA & TURNER,


P.C.

/s/Ellen M. Kelman

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments On 120-Day Report,


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Ellen M. Kelman #10566
Ashley K. Boothby, #46571
600 Grant Street – Suite 450
Denver, CO 80203
Phone Number: 303.333.7751
Fax Number: 303.333.7758
ekelman@laborlawdenver.com
Attorneys for IBEW Local 111

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

The undersigned certifies that a true copy of the foregoing International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments on 120-Day Report was served via electronic
filing with the Commission and served on those parties shown on the Commission’ s Certificate
of Service.

/s/Antoinette Vega
Antoinette Vega

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local # 111’s Comments on 120-Day Report


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