Colorado Looks To Raise Renewable Energy Standard To 25 Percent For Rural Electric Co-Ops
Matt Kasper, Guest Blogger on Apr 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm
Adoption of renewable energy standards — which require electric utility companies to produce a portion of their electricity from wind, solar, and other renewable sources — has considerably driven clean energy advances in recent years.
Some 29 states and the District of Columbia have adopted hard targets for renewable energy production with another eight states setting renewable energy goals. Standards place an obligation on electricity-supply companies to reach set targets, while renewable energy goals are voluntary for companies — although states might incentivize a utility for reaching a set goal. Collectively, state renewable energy standards have supported the development of more than 33,000 megawatts of new renewable power through 2011 and by 2025 will provide 10 percent of the nation’s current electric generation capacity.
But legislators in at least 14 states have introduced bills that would water down or repeal the mandates. So far only Montana is on the verge of wiping out the renewable energy standard entirely by including existing hydropower facilities. SB 31 has passed both chambers and is awaiting Governor Steve Bullock’s decision.
Organizations like the Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Council, or ALEC, and Koch-backed Grover Norquist have been lobbying against renewable energy policies, and pushing “model legislation” to undo these standards.
The good news is that the Colorado Senate has bucked the trend and will soon pass SB 252 — sponsored by state Senate President John Morse. The Senate still must have a third and final vote on the bill. SB 252 will raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent for rural electric cooperatives by 2020 — an increase from 10 percent.