Allen Best

Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist who publishes an e-magazine called Big Pivots. Reach him at [email protected].


Cool this summer. Will next year bring killer heat?

By: - August 16, 2023

A version of this commentary originally appeared at Big Pivots. This summer’s coolish, wettish weather along Colorado’s northern Front Range, home to two-thirds of Colorado’s nearly 6 million residents, has been delightful. Denver’s temperature didn’t crack 90 until well into July and hasn’t broached 100 as of mid-August.  I’m uneasy. This is not normal. Weather […]


The next chapter in Colorado’s decarbonization story

By: - July 28, 2023

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Colorado is starting another chapter in what could be a future history book, “How We Decarbonized our Economy.”   In that book, electricity will be the easy part, at least the storyline through 80% to 90% reduction in emissions. That chapter is incomplete. We may not figure out 100% […]


A jobs bonanza in the energy transition for Brighton

By: - July 7, 2023

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Every transition produces winners and losers. U.S. fiscal policy shifted in the 1880s and the economy of Aspen cratered for decades. Some silver-mining towns never recovered. In the 1980s, newspapers were plentiful. Ink now stains far fewer printers and editorial wretches. Amazon thrives but Sears and Kmart, no […]


Tribal voices now being heard at the Colorado River table

By: - June 21, 2023

A version of this commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Voices of Native American residents, long shunted to the side room, if acknowledged at all, are being heard more clearly in Colorado River discussions, as reflected in two recent water conferences in Colorado. At the first, a drought summit held in Denver, a panel that […]


Pivotal moments in basketball and our energy transition

By: - May 26, 2023

A version of this commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. We sometimes have pivots, long in the making but defined by moments. They occurred both in basketball and in Colorado energy on May 22. In basketball, Nicola Jokić and the Nuggets dethroned the King, as LeBron James has long been known, and his Los Angeles […]


What this Colorado energy bill does — and does not — do

By: - April 25, 2023

This commentary comes to Newsline from Big Pivots. Xcel Energy’s high and wide sails will almost certainly be trimmed by Colorado legislators. Senate Bill 23-291, the bill crafted in response to spiking natural gas prices this winter, will impose small steps to protect consumer interests. What this bill won’t do is make Colorado’s largest utility […]


How can Holy Cross Energy possibly leap this high?

By: - April 12, 2023

This commentary is published courtesy of Big Pivots. Let’s start with the obvious. The sun doesn’t always shine and, except for springtime in Colorado, the wind doesn’t always blow. So how can Holy Cross Energy, which serves the Vail, Aspen, and Rifle areas, achieve 92% emission-free energy in 2024? Last year it was 50%. And […]


Facing hard deadlines in water and climate

By: - March 24, 2023

The International Panel on Climate Change this week issued its latest report, warning of a dangerous temperature threshold that we’ll breach during the next decade if we fail to dramatically reduce emissions. A Colorado legislative committee on the same day addressed water withdrawals in the Republican River Basin that must be curbed by decade’s end. […]


A tale of Colorado’s biggest and smallest coal mines

By: - February 27, 2023

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Colorado’s largest and smallest coal mines both have Elk in their names and are reached by winding, mountain roads amid smile-inducing scenery. New Elk and West Elk, the two mines, also bucked the long-term decline of coal last year. They actually increased production. How long will they tilt […]


Soaring utility bills provoke questions about our energy future

By: - February 17, 2023

This commentary comes to Newsline from Big Pivots. Colorado has had a chilly winter compared to recent decades, but the larger question triggered by the rising utility bills is how the state’s 5.8 million residents will stay warm in coming decades. I see this story as being mostly about the future of natural gas. Utility […]


Can new batteries help Aspen and Vail climate goals?

By: - January 30, 2023

Holy Cross Energy aims to distribute 100% emission-free electricity to its 55,000 members in the Aspen, Rifle and Vail areas by 2030. How will it do that? Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Colorado’s second largest utility, has a different but related problem. It wants to best-use infrastructure associated with its coal-burning operations at Craig after the […]


Renewables move forward in Colorado, but in Wyoming? Not so fast

By: - December 29, 2022

Colorado’s largest electrical utility this week announced it will begin construction of 300 miles of major new transmission next year to harvest wind from the state’s eastern plains. In Wyoming, though, a wind farm proposed 15 years ago still needs crucial permits. The difference? Land ownership, at least in part. The 345-kV transmission line that […]