Renewable Energy Standard Rollback To Die Today

UPDATE: The Durango Herald's Peter Marcus:

The measure made it through the Republican-controlled Senate last month but faced an uphill climb in the House, where Democrats on the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee ended the effort by a 6-5 party-line vote…

Environmentalists held a rally at the Capitol just before the hearing to express their opposition to the bill. A group of mothers said the issue is about protecting the health of future generations by moving away from traditional fuel sources that many believe is at least in part the cause of climate change.

“Moms believe we have a moral obligation to protect children’s health and future, ensuring they have clean air is one of the very basics,” said Dana Gutwein, a leader with the group Colorado Moms Know Best. “The reality is that chopping the state’s renewable-energy standard in half would mean relying more on coal-fired plants and more kids dealing with asthma and other respiratory problems.”


Wind power.

Wind power.

AP via the Aurora Sentinel:

A bill to lower the mandates has passed the Republican state Senate and awaits its first hearing in a House committee Monday.

That committee is controlled by Democrats and is expected to reject the idea.

The bill would cut in half the percentage of renewable energy required of large utilities by 2020, from 30 percent to 15 percent. It would also reduce the renewable energy mandate on rural electricity co-ops, from 20 percent to 15 percent by 2020.

Ahead of today's hearing, and Conservation Colorado are rallying to draw attention to Senate Bill 44:

The House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee has the capacity to kill Senate Bill 44. This bill would roll back our renewable energy standard from 30% by 2020 to 15%. This is especially absurd because Xcel already gets 19% of their electricity from wind alone. Some renewables are cheaper than fossil fueled power and actually help rural Coloradan communities, contrary to the 'war on rural Colorado' narrative.

This is another situation where Democrats have an opportunity to use GOP support for a bill with no real backing outside one special interest–in this case the fossil fuel industry–against Republicans with the much larger majority of voters who won't support rolling back Colorado's popular renewable energy standard. The "war on rural Colorado" rhetoric employed by opponents of the renewable energy standard for rural electric co-ops in particular was always dreadfully over the top, and fell flat during the failed "North Colorado" secession movement.

The only thing that's changed is control by one seat in the Colorado Senate, and that's why the bill survived long enough to be noted in two separate news cycles. Keep in mind that even Cory Gardner had to run as a renewable energy proponent last year. Outside a small segment of climate change denialist diehards and fossil fuel industry surrogates, opposing Colorado's renewable energy standards–which most voters aware of the issue consider a good thing–makes little political sense.

But along with abortion bans, making the world safe for anti-vaxxers, and rolling back gun laws, this is where Colorado Republicans have chosen to plant their flag. For Democrats looking ahead to 2016, it's a wealth of material.

22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. not_lou_pai says:

    Face it Ds: the fact that RES rollback made it this far proves that the fossil fuel industry is still the powerhouse of Colorado politics. This legislature shouldn't be appearing to discuss rolling back the merely preparatory actions Colorado has taken toward moving away from fossil fuels–it should be debating, seriously, different serious plans to acheive carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

    Climate change might not be a lost cause, if the public were paying attention, but the public ain't, so the cause is lost. 

    So here's what's going to happen: runaway positive feedbacks will lock-in an unpredictable, ever-worsening series of climate changes that will destroy whole countries, such as Bangladesh, while those who profit now by investing in still more fossil fuel exploration projects will remain millionaires and billionaires for generations to come. The sixth- and seventh-generation descendants of slave owners are still many of the richest families in this country. What's your prediction about whether there'll be any mega-wealthy coal baron descendants in 2100?

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    I'd like to see what the true cost is to rural Colorado versus the real decline in their propane costs from a year ago.  Rural Coloradoans should have a net energy benefit this year so the bullshit that higher renewable standards is 'killing business' is dodgy propaganda.  Next year voters are going to wonder why Republicans insisted on wasting time on legislation that catered to a select minority of voters without any regarding to the rest of society.  Dumb politics preceding a presidential election.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Just ask Senator "Let's Roll Back the Renewable Standard" Sonnenberg what the billion-dollar tax base in Logan County has done for his constituents. 

      My favorite tweet of the SB252 era comes from the my ex-Senator who claimed wind energy was going to somehow increase costs to the Wray School District by $30,000, even though the Wray School District owns it's own turbine, offsets 100% of it's energy costs from the turbines production and provides about 25% of Wray's electrical demand on a long-term to the City.  Dumphuckistan arithmetic.




      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Thanks for the recap again Michael.  It is a reminder that real world facts are only relevant to those people who believe that this reality is a factual universe.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          He also forgot to mention the fact that Wray gets its electrical supply from the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, (who also serves 16 other cities in Colorado) not the local rural coop or Tri-State, so SB252 would has zero effect on Wray or the Wray School District.  Unlike our rural coops, who claim grassroots governance but are effectively controlled by Tri-State (we would have had the Wray wind turbine build two years earlier had it not been for the Tri-State family trying to thwart the local project) NMMP allows its members to own their own generation; their mission is "local control and working together with their member communities". 

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