Coalition Applauds Colorado Ballot Initiative 37

The 21 business, environmental, and energy policy members of the sustainable energy coalition applauded Colorado’s Ballot Initiative #37 as a critical step for stabilizing energy rates and strengthening economic and homeland security in the state.

The initiative would require the state’s largest utilities to obtain 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2015 as well as establish a standard net metering system for homeowners and ranchers with small photovoltaic (PV) systems to connect to the power grid. The organizations noted that while Colorado is endowed with abundant solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric resources, the state presently produces only 2 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. However, given renewable energy’s potential to contribute to a cleaner environment and improved public health while creating new businesses and quality jobs, there is strong support for expanding the use of clean energy technologies in the state. Noting that Colorado’s legislature has failed to act, the coalition said Ballot Initiative 37 affords the citizens of Colorado an alternative means for moving the state’s economy towards a cleaner energy future. By any measure, Initiative 37, while a step in the right direction, is only a modest proposal. Already 16 other states have enacted renewable energy requirements for their utilities and many require a higher percentage of electrical generation to be from renewable energy than envisioned by Initiative 37. New Mexico, for example, requires 10 percent renewable electricity by 2011, four years ahead of the Colorado proposal. Nevada requires 15 percent renewable electricity by 2013. New York State recently required that 25 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2013. The Sustainable Energy Coalition itself has called for a national renewable energy standard directing that no less than 20 percent of the nation’s electricity should be generated by renewable energy resources by 2020, in addition to that already provided by hydropower. The coalition also said, in light of inaction by the federal government, that Ballot Initiative 37 offers a model for 18 other states that have the initiative process but do not yet have requirements for expanding use of renewable energy.
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