(March 2) – An effort to reduce the state’s renewable energy standard was turned aside tonight by Democrats on the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. The 6-5 vote was on party lines.
SB15-044 passed the Senate and was sponsored in the House by Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction. It would have reduced the renewable energy standard for large utilities from 30 percent by 2020 to 15 percent. The standard for electrical co-ops would be reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent.
In 2014, 10 years after Colorado voters made it the first state in the nation to establish a renewable energy standard, the state’s clean tech industries employed 22,000 Coloradans at an average salary of $78,000, with many of those jobs in rural Colorado.
Xcel, the state’s largest utility, recently included wind and solar projects in its capital investment plans not because of the renewable energy standard, but because they are the most cost-effective resources.
“Sun and wind are abundant in Colorado, they will never be depleted, they will never foul our air or our water and they will never give a Coloradan lung disease,” Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood, said after he voted against the bill. “By rolling back the RES, we would discourage clean-tech energy solutions. That path strikes me as downright foolish.”