Allen Best

Allen Best

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


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 […]


Enough power in a heat wave in 2025? State officials wonder.

By: - December 14, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. It got hot last summer across Colorado. Denver had 67 days of temperature that hit 90 and above, the third most in a century and a half of thermometer-watching. What if it got much hotter, say 115 degrees for several days? And instead of being relatively isolated, like […]


Questions about Colorado’s second largest utility

By: - November 29, 2022

Grocery stores have been consolidating. With utilities, the opposite is happening. We’re seeing some of them start to come apart. Specifically in question is whether Colorado’s second-largest electrical provider, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, will survive this great pivot in how we produce and consume electricity. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, seems secure in its business […]


A biggest ever for battery storage — but not for long

By: - November 5, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. The 13,500 solar modules sandwiched by hillsides of sagebrush, pinyon and juniper near Glenwood Springs capture the eyes. It’s the four shipping containers of lithium-ion batteries, capable of five megawatts of storage, that will briefly set a new high mark for Colorado. Battery storage is coming on in […]


Mount Evans on cusp of name change? Other Colorado place names also warrant reconsideration.

By: - October 14, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Big Pivots. Our heartburn about the name Evans appears to be nearing resolution. The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board this week heard testimony about the role of John Evans, then the territorial governor, in the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. The evidence presented by representatives of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, […]


Why baby steps when the Colorado River needs big strides?

By: - October 3, 2022

This commentary is republished with permission from Big Pivots. Rivers and streams on Colorado’s Western Slope chattered excitedly with runoff during mid-September after several days of rain, softening landscapes that had turned sullen after another hot summer. The water was a blink of good news for a Colorado River that needs something more. It needs a long, […]


What Boebert and Frisch did not say

By: - September 14, 2022

This commentary originally appeared at Big Pivots. U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and her challenger, Adam Frisch, debated on Saturday evening at a forum in Grand Junction sponsored by Club 20. Frisch, a Democrat, tried to define the Republican Boebert as a legislator who talks a lot but gets nothing done. Boebert suggested Frisch would be […]


Hedging our bets on water in Colorado and beyond

By: - September 7, 2022

Lake Mead’s receding waters have exposed sunken boats, dead bodies, and more. But the wisdom of a bet placed in 2005 by Las Vegas has also been revealed. The Southern Nevada Water Authority draws 90% of its water for a population of 2.3 million from Lake Mead. It had two intake pipes, one higher and […]


A small mountain town takes a big step

By: - August 22, 2022

This commentary originally appeared in Crested Butte, a one-time coal mining town, has now turned its back on natural gas. Town councilors unanimously agreed that any new building erected on the 60 vacant lots cannot be served by gas. Major remodels must be electric ready. It’s Colorado’s first natural gas ban, although 80 other […]


What advocates of nuclear must also talk about

By: - August 5, 2022

This commentary is republished with permission from Big Pivots. A nuclear reactor might be a nice addition to the economy of Craig, the community in  Colorado. But can Colorado afford nuclear power? Three coal-burning units at Craig will be closed between 2025 and 2030. Those plants and associated mining provide the Moffat County School District with […]