you hear a lot about 100% renewable energy these days. Unfortunately, the sun doesn’t always shine… And the wind doesn’t always blow. So how do you do it? Colorado springs utilities believes the answer… Is batteries. Not small ones… Big ones… And lots of them. But are they really capable… Of providing enough reliable power to keep your lights on, your dryer running, or your electric car charging? It’s the focus of tonight’s special report. Solar power… Is nothing new to c-s-u. Rows and rows of panels are lined up at several sites just south of fountain… The latest array coming online in april of last year. But the next one… The “pike solar and storage project”… Is different… Because of those giant lithium-ion batteries out front in this drawing. The ceo of csu… Says the batteries will be re- charged by solar energy… That’s generated but not needed at the time. colorado springs utilities – That gives us additional capabilities of storing that energy at night or at the time that we need it the most. Currently, the largest battery storage project… Belongs to “united power” in firestone in weld county. These vending machine-size batteries can collectively produce 4 megawatts for about 4 hours. Chief resource officer dean hubbock says they have worked brilliantly so far. Dean hubbock – united power – When we’ve called for the dispatch, it’s operated and functioned. So I don’t think we could have asked for any better results than what we’ve got right there. Hubbock says while battery performance has increased tremendously over the last decade… The cost… Has actually by far, depending on how you want to use it, very cost effective. Mike kruger – They’re getting better and cheaper, as we learn how to build and install them. Mike kruger is the head of a trade association representing the solar and storage industry in colorado… And agrees that both price and performance… Have come a long way. Mike kruger – Solar is down 90% over 10 years. So what used to cost a dollar now costs a dime. Still… There are concerns. Prager-u nat – “Consider some sobering numbers.” many conservative groups like “prager-u”… Question whether renewable sources… Can ever produce enough energy to allow utility companies to completely move away from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Prager-u nat – “Despite pr claims about big gains coming, there just aren’t any possible. Trump – “i love solar.” even president trump expressed his doubts… During this debate back in factories that we need to compete with the world. So it’s all a pipe dream. Mike kruger – It’s certainly not a pipe dream. Bart – Is it a pipe dream? Benyamin – Well, we’re sitting in a generating facility here, and we’re adding many other facilities, so I don’t think it’s a dream. Benyamin believes batteries are the future… But he admits that battery technology must improve in the coming years… In order for them to store larger amounts… And run for longer periods of time. And until that happens… Fossil fuels like natural gas… And coal… Until 2030… Will remain in the background… To ensure c-s-u can meet the city’s needs. Aram benyamin – In the foreseeable future, we see gas generation as part of our system, but eventually I think we will come to a point where technology is going to solve that problem and storage will become that bridge to 100% renewable. > To be clear, 100% renewable is still a long way away. Even when this new solar storage project is online in 2023… Only about 27% of csu’s power will come from renewable sources. Statewide… It’s about the same percentage. The governor’s goal… Is to be 100% renewable by 2040… So we will need a lot more solar, wind, and battery projects over the next 20 years if we want to meet that goal. A former marine has dedicated his life to helping others… Specifically, by raising awareness to the plight of cancer patients… One step, and one patient at a time. Jim hickey estimates he’s now walked more than 85-hundred miles for different people battling the disease. Right now – he’s in the springs – preparing to walk to loveland – that’s 128 miles… To raise funds for lindsey, a woman living in an assited living community there. Hickey first started this mission, to honor his father and brother – both of whom died of cancer within 6 months of eachother. On his walks – he raises funds for individuals — but he says – the best way you can help — is by contributing money, or just doing a good deed for the people in your own community. Absolutely colorado is a partnership between krdo, centura health, and gold hill mesa. Break