Feb 22, 2021 - News

Colorado in danger of Texas-style blackouts

Illustrated power line being hit with lightening bolts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The blackouts in Texas are a real possibility in Colorado.

What they're saying: Much like Texas, the Colorado grid is managed by a handful of utility companies and needs to be better connected to its neighbors in the event of a major blow, state Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) tells Axios.

"I think Colorado is in danger of something similar happening because we have a relatively islanded grid," said Hansen, who doubles as the director of the nonprofit Colorado Energy and Water Institute.

Hansen and Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) are behind new legislation to push utilities to build transmission corridors and create a commission to oversee the fortification of the grid.

The other side: The same storm that hit Texas led utilities to ask Colorado residents to conserve energy. But experts and utilities companies here have offered repeated assurances that they are prepared and moving toward regional power solutions.

  • A 2019 law required Colorado's Public Utilities Commission to hire an outside firm to study the issue and how it would benefit rate payers and power generators. The report is expected in May.

The bottom line: A regional power network would mean Colorado utilities need to generate smaller energy reserves, saving money for ratepayers — but the build-out could be costly.


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