Moving forward in the New Energy Economy

Media Releases

Environment Colorado

With critical energy legislation pending before Congress, clean energy supporters gathered in front of a large solar array held by the men and women working in the solar industry.

“The sun will shine and the wind will blow to power the New Energy Economy,” said U.S. Representative Mark Udall (D – Eldorado Springs). “Colorado’s made strong investments in clean energy. We can build that same vision in Washington and put Colorado in a strong position to be a renewable energy exporter.”

Colorado, having already taken important steps to develop renewable energy in the state, is positioned to become a national leader in this new industry.  Congress is deciding as early as this week whether to adopt a federal 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2020 and implement important federal production and investment tax credits to encourage emerging renewable technology. 

“A national renewable portfolio standard would spur the market for vast amounts of clean wind energy, which would promote more opportunities for economic growth in rural Colorado,” said Tom Fieler of Clipper Wind, an international wind turbine manufacturing company. “This year alone, the wind industry has invested over a billion dollars in Colorado.”

The extension of the production and investment tax credits are seen as key to providing long-term stability to clean energy and ensuring competitiveness in the market.

“The re-authorization of federal tax credits for renewable energy technology is important for the sustainable growth of the solar industry,” said Beth Hart, representative of AEE Solar and President of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association.  “Tax credits make it possible for individuals to install clean technology on their homes and businesses and in a few years, reap the economic benefits of this investment.”

In 2007 the legislature voted to double Colorado’s standard to 20 percent. According to a report by Environment Colorado, Colorado’s renewable energy standard will create more than 4,100 new jobs, more than $570 million in wages paid to workers and more than $1.9 billion added to our overall gross domestic product through 2020.

Dennis Whalen, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 68, hailed the importance of federal clean energy policies for job creation and economic growth. The pending legislation is expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs.

“Clean energy is a clear win for Colorado’s job force,” said Whalen. “Passing a federal renewable energy standard and extension of the tax credits is essential for creating good, high-skilled jobs. States across the country have shown their commitment to the New Energy Economy—now it’s time for Washington to step up to the plate and pass this crucial legislation.”

Colorado’s potential to contribute the clean, renewable power to meet this standard is enormous. From solar resources in the San Luis Valley and geothermal potential in the Rocky Mountains, to the vast wind resources on the Eastern Plains, Colorado can contribute a diversity of clean energy resources to meet national demand. Colorado’s state renewable energy standard is expected to create more than $50 million in lease payments to farmers and landowners. 

“Colorado’s Eastern Plains hold a bumper crop of wind power,” said Benjamin Waters, Government Relations Representative of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “By making a national investment in clean energy, Colorado farmers will not only put food on the table, but also more wind power on the wires.”

The amalgam of clean energy supporters included wind and solar companies such as AEE Solar, Bella Energy, Clipper Wind Power, Coenergy, Cool Energy, Five Star Consultants, Independent Power Systems, Lumos, Namaste Solar Electric, REC Solar, Simple Solar, SolSource, SunFlower Solar, trade organizations such as Interwest Energy Alliance and the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, IBEW Local 68, Xcel Energy, Environment Colorado, U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, and Mark Udall, and others.

More about the 15% renewable energy standard from Union of Concerned Scientists:

  • $13 billion to $18.1 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $27.7 billion to $31.8 billion by 2030)
  • Increase in clean, renewable energy capacity to between 3.6 and 4.5 times over 2005 levels
  • Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking between 13.7 and 20.6 million cars off the road