Colorado doubles down on renewable energy standards

The signature of Colorado Gov. John Hickelooper June 5 deepened that state’s involvement in renewable energy as a piece of legislation requiring rural electric cooperatives operating within the state to invest more in clean energy became law.

The new renewable portfolio standard (also known as a renewable electricity standard) requires electricity providers that service at least 100,000 meters to derive at least 20 percent of their electric power from renewable sources by 2020. This doubles the RPS that the state enacted in 2007 under Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat.

The law, titled Senate Bill 252, or “Setting Renewable Energy Standards for Rural Colorado,” sparked a fair share of controversy at the Colorado State House. Long hearings on the floor and debates between lawmakers went on until the late hours, according to reports.

 

The bill was also opposed by the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which said requiring utilities to invest in renewable energy would inflate electricity costs.

The law contains a measure meant to address the potential for jumps in the price of electricity. A retail cost cap limits cost increases to 2 percent.

Proponents of the law said the law will help customers who want to power their homes with renewable energy have greater access to electricity sourced from wind or solar power projects. Colorado Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush said the law will create or maintain some 19,000 jobs in Colorado.

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