Colorado House Considers More Renewable Power Mandates

Published April 23, 2013

The Colorado House of Representatives Transportation and Energy Committee is holding hearings tomorrow on legislation to dramatically increase the amount of expensive renewable power consumers are forced to purchase.

Under current law, rural electric customers in Colorado must purchase 10 percent of their electricity from specially designated renewable sources by 2015. Under the proposed new law, SB 252, that percentage will ramp up to 25 percent by 2020.

Colorado enacted its current law in 2007, just before the shale gas revolution began dramatically lowering natural gas electricity costs. There is no economic case for expensive renewable power, as renewable power is substantially more expensive than conventional power and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts the cost of renewable power will remain substantially higher than conventional power for many decades to come. Similarly, there is no environmental case for renewable power, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports natural gas power reduces emissions of the Six Principal Pollutants by 90 percent versus coal power. Moreover, EPA reports power plant emissions have declined by 70 percent since 1980, due in large part to advances in environmental technologies related to coal power.

Since Colorado passed its renewable power mandate in 2007, electricity prices in the state have risen more than twice as fast as the national average. 

Colorado legislators this week will have a choice; more renewable power carve-outs for special interests or lower electricity costs for Colorado consumers.