Denver – Gov. Bill Ritter and lawmakers today announced legislation to significantly increase Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, which will give Colorado the best clean-energy requirement in the Rocky Mountain West, create thousands of new jobs and lead to 100,000 solar rooftops over the next decade.
“Colorado has proven that clean energy works,” said Pam Kiely, program director for Environment Colorado. “We’ve gone from zero to 60, all fueled by clean energy, to strengthen our economy, stabilize energy prices and put Coloradans to work on solar rooftops and wind farms. Our air is cleaner, our water healthier, and we’ve cut global warming pollution. Today, it’s time to take the next big step forward.”
House Bill 10-1001 will raise the state’s renewable energy requirement for large utility companies from 20 percent by 2020 to 30 percent by 2020. The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Max Tyler and Jack Pommer and Sens. Gail Schwartz and Bruce Whitehead. A 30 percent Renewable Energy Standard would be the highest in the Rocky Mountain West and among the highest nationally.
“Colorado’s New Energy Economy is leading America’s clean-energy revolution,” Gov. Ritter said. “We are well ahead of the current goal of 20 percent renewables by 2020 goal. By requiring utility companies to generate nearly one-third of their electricity from renewable sources, we will continue to improve our energy, environmental and economic security. We will create thousands of new jobs and help bring clean, affordable and reliable clean energy into homes and businesses throughout Colorado.”
Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved Renewable Energy Standard in 2004 with the passage of Amendment 37, which set a 10 percent by 2015 goal. Gov. Ritter and lawmakers doubled the RES to 20 percent by 2020 in 2007.
“Renewable energy is Colorado’s fastest growing economic sector,” Rep. Tyler said. “We want to keep it growing and glowing brightly. That’s why we’re proud to present our number one bill. House Bill 1001 will increase the Renewable Energy Standard by 50 percent and will spur development of small, local power projects from a wide array of sources.”
“You can’t ignore the numbers,” Sen. Schwartz said. “By increasing Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, 100,000 more homes statewide will have renewable energy and lower energy bills, 30 percent of our electricity will come from clean-energy sources, and thousands more Coloradans will have an opportunity to obtain good-paying jobs in the New Energy Economy.”
Colorado currently has 17,000 jobs in renewable energy and energy research, the fourth-highest concentration in the nation, and 230 solar companies. With more than 300 sunny days a year in Colorado and some of the best wind resources in the country, HB 1001 will recharge the economy by incentivizing more residential, commercial and community solar projects.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs. That is our primary focus for this session and this bill,” Sen. Whitehead said. “The Renewable Energy Standard will cement our position as the premier location for New Energy Economy companies to come and create new jobs.”
“HB 1001 has been a strong collaborative effort and it makes great strides in making sure that jobs in the New Energy Economy are good jobs with training, standards, better wages and benefits for Colorado’s workers. We support this bill and look forward to it becoming law,” said Mike Cerbo, executive director, Colorado AFL-CIO.