The Colorado General Assembly has approved a bill to expand and improve the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) statute to drive clean energy investment, jobs, and project development in rural Colorado. The bill now goes to Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk for consideration.
Senate Bill (SB) 252, cosponsored by Senate President John Morse and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, protects energy consumers while increasing the RES to 20% by 2020 for the state’s largest cooperative electric associations. While the low cost and stable rates of Colorado renewable energy are expected to save consumers money over time, the consumer protection provision limits any near-term rate impacts to a maximum of 2% per year with no cap on rate decreases. The bill also would expand opportunities for distributed generation and eliminates unnecessary “extra-credit” preferences for new electricity generation built in Colorado.
“With its world-class wind and solar resources, Colorado is a leader on clean energy development,” said Sarah Propst, Executive Director of the Interwest Energy Alliance. “The Colorado General Assembly showed tremendous leadership in passing legislation to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness. We encourage the Governor to sign SB 252 without delay.
“Many Colorado utility customers are already benefitting from affordable, predictably priced renewable energy, and Colorado communities and families are benefitting from clean-energy jobs. This legislation will bring more of these good things to the state.”
The renewable industry has responded to the current RES with significant investments in electricity generation projects and manufacturing facilities, employing nearly 10,000 Coloradans and pouring millions of dollars in annual lease and property tax payments into rural Colorado communities. By 2012, Colorado had installed 2,301 MW of wind and 258 MW of solar, but the state’s wind ranking was slipping nationally, signaling a market slowdown. The increased standard in SB 252 will help revitalize the market, resulting in additional investments and jobs in the state, while further helping utilities deliver price stability with long-term, lower-priced renewable power contracts.
“Renewable energy companies are ready and able to provide more clean, affordable, home-grown electricity to power rural Colorado’s economic and environmental future,” said Kevin Lynch of Iberdrola Renewables, Interwest’s Board Chair.
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