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Colorado Passes New Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

The Strongest in The Union to Date

By Hilary Stingley   

Last Friday, the Colorado State Senate passed H.B.1001, increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30% by 2020.

Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill when the House passes it through.

The bill also mandates that 3% of total electricity sales come from distributed generation systems such as distributed solar. These systems will allow energy consumers to lower their electricity bills and enable utilities to avoid expensive investments in new transmission systems.

Additionally, H.B.1001 requires that half of all solar projects developed by investor-owned utilities be located on rooftops or within the distribution network.

In doing so, the bill is expected to deploy 700 MW of solar generation.

If that same requirement were expanded to include all state electricity producers, Colorado could see a total of 1,000 MW of solar power

That much solar power could create more than 33,500 jobs for the state’s renewable energy economy and produce $4.3 billion in total economic output.

Shortly after H.B.1001 passed the Senate, Governor Ritter announced the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act. The act is primarily a move away from outdated coal-fired power plants.

Colorado isn’t the only state committed to a clean energy economy. Some 28 states and the District of Columbia have their own renewable portfolio standards.

Nevertheless, the long-term success of renewable energy depends on legislative action by Congress.

The push for a national standard that would increase the country’s RPS to 20% by 2020 is being met with resistance by legislators from coal producing states that claim their states don’t have the same renewable resources as other states.

However, certain bills are beginning to reflect the necessity for a boost in renewable energy standards.

The Waxman-Markley climate change bill, for example, contains provisions that would establish a national RPS. Still, controversy in Congress is holding up the process.

Perhaps Colorado’s H.B.1001 will provide some encouragement to those still holding out in D.C.

Until next time,

Hilary

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