On November 8, 2006, voters in Boulder, Colorado, passed the first energy tax in the nation designed to fund efforts to fight global warming. This Climate Action Plan Tax on greenhouse gas emissions-generating electricity is collected by the local electric utility based on the amount of electricity used by customers. The tax only applies to electricity generated from the combustion of carbon-emitting fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas; customers signed up through a voluntary program to receive some or all of their electricity from wind power will be exempt from the tax for the carbon-free share of their electricity use. On average, the tax will add about $1.33 per month to household electricity bills, and $3.80 per month for businesses. The collected revenue, estimated to be about $1 million a year through 2012, will be used by Boulder’s Office of Environmental Affairs to help the city meet the goals set under its 2006 Climate Action Plan, which include investment in renewable energy sources, energy efficiency for buildings, and transportation initiatives. The city’s plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
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