In a boost for clean energy legislation in Colorado, the Board of Directors of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) voted unanimously at their recent meeting to approve a resolution supporting passage of HR1273, a bill in the Colorado legislature which establishes a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Colorado’s providers of electric services.Montrose, Colorado – March 12, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The proposed legislation would require Colorado’s investor owned utilities to increase their purchase of electricity generated by renewable resources such as biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy, small hydroelectric facilities, and wind turbines. The bill also includes “co-generation” – the production of electricity from heat otherwise lost in an industrial facility – as a renewable resource. “We received a great deal of input from our members that they wanted DMEA to support this bill,” said Gary Richardson, President of DMEA’s Board of Directors. “As a member-owned electric co-operative, our members’ opinions count a great deal and have an impact on our Board’s decision making.” The potential of renewable energy to enhance rural economic development is another reason the DMEA Board passed the resolution supporting the proposed Renewable Portfolio Standard. “This is an attractive aspect of the proposed legislation,” Richardson said. “Since May, DMEA has been involved in a project studying the technical and economic viability of wind turbines in some parts of our service territory. Ideally, renewable energy resources developed locally could be sold to the investor owned utilities, Xcel Energy and Aquila, bringing new revenue to our communities and adding to the tax base for public services.” Developing renewable energy resources helps protect Colorado consumers from the costs and economic harm caused by high natural gas prices, noted Richardson. Most of the new electric generation for investor owned utilities has come from natural gas fired turbines. Adding more renewables to the resource mix of electric generation provides a more diversified base, and could mitigate the devastating impacts caused by natural gas price spikes. “Many Western Slope gas consumers saw a 73% increase in the natural gas costs this Winter and the Department of Energy forecasts that natural gas prices will go still higher in years to come,” Richardson said. “This bill, in addition to the renewable energy demand-side options measures DMEA advocates, such as GeoExchange for heating buildings, would help protect consumers against the economic harms caused by volatile natural gas prices.” In addition to supporting the RPS legislation, Richardson noted that DMEA already has a “Green Power” option for members interested in buying wind power and a national award winning “Co-Z Energy Plan for members interested in using renewable earth energy for heating and cooling their homes. DMEA is also a U.S. Department of Energy “Million Solar Roof” Initiative partner, promotes ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances, and hosts many seminars and conferences on renewable energy and conservation. “I encourage our members to call our staff at 249-4572 or 874-8081 to plug into DMEA’s efforts to energize and serve our communities with energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Richardson said.