The Colorado Renewable Energy Standard legislation (HB 1295) was defeated in the Colorado Senate Business Affairs & Labor Committee Wednesday afternoon on a 4-3 vote.Denver, Colorado – March 14, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Voting no were Republican Senators Andy McElhany (Colorado Springs), Ed Jones (Colorado Springs), Steve Johnson (Fort Collins) and Democrat Stephanie Takis (Aurora). Voting yes were Republican Ken Kester (the bill’s Senate sponsor) of Las Animas and Democrats Terry Phillips (the bill’s Senate cosponsor) of Louisville and Abel Tapia (Pueblo). This legislation enjoyed support from a broad range of constituencies from around Colorado, including Xcel Energy, independent bankers, agriculture, building trades, 14 county commissions, four economic development districts, businesses and others. In addition, the Owens Administration supported the legislation. In testimony, the bill’s supporters emphasized the advantages of Renewable Energy, such as fuel cost stability in these times of soaring natural gas prices, economic development potential, low water usage and other benefits. Many of the witnesses speaking on behalf of the bill pointed out that the state’s rural and municipal electric utilities were exempted from the bill’s provisions. However, opponents, including the Colorado Rural Electric Association, the Colorado Mining Association and the Colorado Springs Utilities, argued against government mandates, claiming that this legislation would force them to pass increased costs along to their consumers. Several opponents called for the market to accommodate increased renewable power generation in their testimony on Wednesday. The bill passed the Colorado House on February 21 by a bipartisan 43-20 vote. Sponsored in the House by Speaker Lola Spradley (R-Beulah) and Minority Leader Jennifer Veiga (D-Denver), this legislation called for the state’s two investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy and Aquila) to provide a minimum of 500 MW of Renewable Energy (including wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal) in Colorado by 2006, 900 MW by 2010 and 1,800 MW by 2020. The bill provided a cost cap, establishment of a credit-trading system and triple credit for solar resources as well as 150 percent credit for Renewable Energy generated in enterprise zones around the state.