(June 5) – Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill today that will grow Colorado’s renewable energy industry and create jobs across the state.

SB13-252, sponsored in the House by Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) and Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), requires major suppliers of electricity to rural electrical associations to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The bill also expands the definition of eligible energy resources to include coal mine methane and synthetic gas produced by a process known as pyrolysis of municipal solid waste.

“This new law is a win-win-win for Colorado,” Speaker Ferrandino said. “It will create jobs and spur economic development in rural Colorado, clean our air and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

It is estimated every time a job is created in the renewable energy sector, it spurs an additional 4.8 jobs in industries such as manufacturing, trucking and the service sector.

“The governor’s signature is a clear signal that Colorado remains a leader in renewable energy,” Rep. Duran said. “Rural Colorado has some of the best renewable energy opportunities across the country, and this will attract new investments, create jobs across Colorado and provide a healthier environment for communities throughout Colorado.”

Wind farms are coming of age as competitive alternatives to fossil fuels. Xcel Energy and other utilities have signed contracts recently to buy wind power at a lower cost than they are paying for electricity generated from fossil fuels.

The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union noted recently that wind farms in Weld and Logan counties have generated about $2.5 billion in private infrastructure investment in those counties alone. Kent Peppler, president of the RMFU, said that “the demand for renewables means new opportunities for rural communities, new jobs for rural communities, and new businesses keeping our rural communities alive.”

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