Allen Best

Allen Best

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


What will come of these hot, dry winds licking at winter’s back door?

By: - May 16, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Ponds on a ranch in northwestern Colorado earlier this month were full, a rare treat in recent years for horses that have gathered like at a spa. It was a good winter there, cold and snowy. Now, a ranch owner had begun planning for a fiery summer. “It’s […]


This fossil-free technology heats homes in frigid Fraser

By: - April 28, 2022

The coldest temperature this winter at the new home of Joe Smyth and Kristen Taddonio was 17 below. They live in Fraser, the Colorado town that used to get far, far colder. Still, that February night was cold enough to test the design and technologies employed in construction of the couple’s 1,176-square-foot house. They insulated […]


Will this coal plant deliver electricity during a 2030 heat wave?

By: - April 13, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. For all electrical utilities, R is the first letter of the alphabet. Reliability, keeping the lights on, comes before A, affordability. Colorado’s utility regulators soon will decide the role of Comanche 3, the state’s youngest but most unreliable coal-fired power plant, in ensuring reliability, and whether more natural […]


An unsolved math problem on the Colorado River

By: - March 29, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Spring runoff last year in the Colorado River Basin was a bust, with snowpack of almost 90% of average reduced to a 30% inflow at Lake Powell. Nobody yet predicts another bust this year. Maybe a meteorological March madness will compensate for last year. While we wait, water […]


Electricity today is like Colorado’s road network a century ago

By: - February 14, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Imagine life in Colorado before direct flights to ski towns, before the interstate highways or even two-lane paved highways. In 1922, the most expedient way to drive from Denver to Grand Junction was through Buena Vista. In winter, even that was impossible. No Continental Divide crossings were plowed […]


In Colorado, end almost in sight for the natural gas bridge

By: - January 28, 2022

A version of this story originally appeared in Big Pivots. Natural gas a decade ago was being called the bridge fuel. Burning it produces half the emissions of coal, yet it can be tapped to ensure reliable delivery of electricity. It was the bridge to a low-emissions future. Today, natural gas is where coal was 10 or 15 […]


The perplexity of a useless boat ramp at Lake Powell

By: - December 29, 2021

A version of this story originally appeared in Big Pivots. As the sun slipped behind the canyon wall earlier this month, I lingered at the bottom of a concrete boat ramp just outside Page, Arizona. I was there to study the disappearing Lake Powell. We expect the sun to vanish. Not so the giant reservoirs […]

How Kevin Priola became a reliable vote for climate legislation in Colorado

By: - September 28, 2021

A version of “How Kevin Priola became a reliable vote for climate legislation in Colorado” first appeared in Big Pivots. Kevin Priola was at his home north of Denver early one afternoon in January 2015 when he noticed the snow that removed any lingering doubts about climate change. “I saw these big, fat snowflakes falling. […]

Colorado arrives at the dawn of megafires

By: - July 12, 2021

A version of “Colorado arrives at the dawn of megafires” originally appeared at Big Pivots. Colorado’s scariest wildfire in 2020 was not its largest. East Troublesome shocked because of its sprint and then its leap. It grew by 87,000 acres in a fiery dash across the headwaters of the Colorado River and past Grand Lake, […]


Colorado’s last standing coal plant?

By: - March 11, 2021

“Colorado’s last standing coal plant?” originally appeared in Mountain Town News. Coal to feed the roaring blast furnaces of Pueblo’s steel mill was being mined a century ago at dozens of hamlets in the foothills of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Range. Little remains today of those camps near Trinidad nor of the mine works at […]

A 15,000-foot view of Colorado’s legislative climate and energy landscape

By: - February 18, 2021

“A 15,000-foot view of Colorado’s legislative climate and energy landscape” originally appeared in Mountain Town News. Carrots or sticks — or, more likely, what mixture? That will be among the questions as Colorado legislators sort through several dozen bills during the next few months that seek to build on the state’s ground-breaking energy and climate […]

With more renewables planned, Holy Cross Energy learns to match supply with demand

By: - December 11, 2020

This story first appeared in Mountain Town News. Allen Best publishes the e-magazine Big Pivots. On the cusp of deep penetration of renewable energy that most would have thought impossible just a decade ago, Holy Cross Energy has now started working to contour demands around those intermittent renewables. Consider the six Tesla Powerwall battery packs […]