Wind Power

Legislative Victory for Colorado Renewables

Establishment of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in Colorado moved one step closer last week as House Bill 1273, sponsored by Rep. Lola Spradley, (R-Beulah), passed the Colorado House of Representatives by a vote of 39-26.

Denver, Colorado – February 10, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The bill establishes a renewable energy standard in Colorado which calls upon the state’s two investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy and Aquila) to provide 500 megawatts (MW) of power from renewable energy sources by 2006, 900 MW by 2010 and 1,800 MW by 2020. Consideration of this legislation now moves to the Colorado Senate. According to the Colorado Coalition for New Energy Technologies, the bill includes a 150% “multiplier” for renewable energy generated in Colorado’s rural enterprise zones (meaning that 100MW of renewable power generated in a rural area would count as 150 MW toward meeting the bill’s goals). Only Xcel Energy and Aquila are covered by this legislation: rural co-ops and municipal utilities are exempted. Proponents of HB 1273 note that this legislation will help provide stability to electricity rates in Colorado, create certainty in utility acquisition of future generation resources and boost rural economic development. “Renewable energy is smart for Colorado consumers and it’s smart for our rural communities,” said Lola Spradley (R-Beulah) in previous statement. “Families are being faced with skyrocketing electricity bills while cheap sources of renewable energy go untapped. This bill changes that.” Spradley’s press release notes that HB 1273 has been endorsed by a broad coalition of more than 20 cities and counties, over 120 business and agricultural interests and environmental groups, and that supporters include Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Oil & Gas Association, Xcel Energy, Environment Colorado and others. This is not the first time a bill like this has come before Colorado legislators. According to the Denver Business Journal, similar bills have failed in the last two legislative sessions, including a bill last year that passed the house but lost by a single vote in the Senate.