Denver – With a speaker system powered by a mobile solar energy system, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper joined other political leaders before a crowd of hundreds of clean energy business workers, renewable energy advocates, labor supporters, and environmentalists calling for policies that will bring more green jobs by supporting sound investment in renewable energy.
“One of the things we can do to reboot our economy is to focus on repowering America on a sound foundation of clean energy and green jobs,” Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said.”Green jobs are good, local jobs. You can’t outsource the solar installer putting panels on your roof. With 300-plus days of sunshine, Denver and Colorado is uniquely situated to be leaders in our nation’s energy transition.”
Colorado could gain 63,000 new jobs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to an analysis conducted by Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist for the Vice President (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/state_by_state_employment_impact/).
“From Windsor to Pueblo to Grand Junction, green jobs are putting Coloradans to work today,” said Tom Plant, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “With the policies we are creating here and the investment support that we are working to get from the federal government, we expect to harvest even more green jobs in Colorado.”
According to an analysis of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 done by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and released by the Democratic Policy Committee, Colorado will receive approximately $2.5 billion in federal support that will help the state and private industry invest in developing clean, efficient, homegrown energy, modernize energy transmission, and upgrade government buildings and vehicles. Specific funding support includes:
· $7.9 million through the State Energy Program
· $48 million through the Weatherization Assistance Program
· $122 million through transit funding
Colorado leaders played a front-and-center role in the national debate to invest in clean energy. Right out of the gate, Gov. Bill Ritter delivered a detailed clean energy investment plan to Congress. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) advocated for increased clean energy funding. Colorado’s House delegation championed clean, green transit solutions. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) cosponsored and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) supported the Nadler Amendment which increased transit funding to rural Colorado by $3 million.
“Colorado’s new green energy industry is paving the way for a national green energy system. We need to make sure that Colorado builds a clean green transit system to go along as well,” said Rep. Polis. “By making sure that stimulus dollars go to transit projects, we can ride the rails to a green economic recovery that will generate good jobs, cut global warming pollution, and reduce our dependency on foreign oil.”
Colorado leadership has helped make clean energy funding front-and-center in the economic stimulus package. The continued leadership of Sen. Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) will be key as the Senate debates the final version of the bill today.
“Colorado’s leaders have gone to bat for clean energy and a green economic recovery. Let’s pass the economic recovery bill now and make clean energy a winner for Colorado and the entire country,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado. “Let’s keep the train running on the tracks for a green recovery by passing the stimulus package and investing more than $80 billion in transit, energy efficiency, and clean energy. The economic stimulus package is a green jobs investment that will pay off in cleaner air, cleaner energy and a brighter future.”
The growth in Colorado’s residential solar market has boomed over the last few years. With the economy cooling, invest has slowed. There is optimism among Colorado solar energy installers that passage of a stimulus bill will mean a rebound for the economy and continued growth in solar.
“In today’s economy, business as usual is an incredibly risky option. Congress has made some bold choices today that have put us on the path to a 21st Century Colorado that rests on a clean energy as its foundation,” said Beth Hart, president of the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association. “These investments are going to put solar installers back to work and help ordinary Coloradans cut their energy bills.”