Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Ascher

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Kathryn C. Browning


Climate change will result in variable – but undeniably severe – changes to our natural world. These changes will lead to extreme human and ecosystem consequences if climate change is not mitigated effectively, efficiently, and rapidly. Increasing the use of renewable energies around the world is seen as one of the most effective and promising mitigation strategies. Several communities around the United States have recently denounced publicly their electrical utilities for their failure to offer the choice to increase the percentage of energy that comes from renewable sources. A growing number are taking action to work with – or sometimes against – their energy providers to increase the percentage of renewable energies available. Boulder, Colorado is one of these communities. Since 2005, Boulder has been exploring the possibility of municipalizing its investor-owned electric utility, thereby bringing the utility under city control. In doing so, it would control the sources of electricity that would be used by its residents, and potentially provide these customers with 100 percent renewable energy. Boulder is in the final phases of studying the possibility of full municipalization and aims to begin this process in the near future. While it remains to be seen if the city will successfully create a municipally owned utility (MOU), an examination of Boulder’s thought processes, studies, and decision making to date provides an opportunity for a discussion of the benefits and possible downsides of municipalization and allows a glimpse into the future of MOUs in the United States.