From the Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency (4CORE): Southwest Colorado, and Colorado in general, has some advantages as our country pursues clean power alternatives. Here are five of them:
- Colorado’s has a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in place. Legislators recently increased our RES to require electric utilities serving fewer than 100,000 meters to generate or purchase enough renewable energy to supply 10% of their retail electric sales by 2020. This increases up to 30% for investor owned utilities. This action has readied Colorado for policies such as the one proposed by EPA. Likley as a result, Colorado’s grid-connected photovoltaic capacity of 300 megawatts was the fifth largest in the United States in 2012.
- Economic Gain. Increased demand for renewables throughout the US could be a boon for our state’s economy, attracting and sustaining companies that build, install and operate wind turbines, solar power equipment, and hydroelectric infrastructure. Colorado already hosts a myriad of such companies who have paved the way for these industries.
- We’re on our way. Xcel Energy, which provides service in the Boulder and Greeley areas, has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 19 percent from 2005 levels and aims to achieve a 31 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. Other rural regions, including ours, get power from Tri-state Generation and Transmission, which generates more than half of its electricity from coal-fired power plants. It is unclear how the proposed plan will affect them.
- We’ve got access to efficiency: Energy efficiency and renewable energy loan programs from the USDA, Federal tax credits for both energy efficiency and renewable upgrades, and incentives from utilities in Southwest Colorado are poised to provide resources to reduce. That means you can contribute by reducing your demand and taking advantage of services such as 4CORE’s HomeRx Program, which helps individual households identify and decrease wasted energy.
- Trade Advantage. If Colorado participates in state-based and regional carbon trading, our robust renewable energy portfolio could allow us to participate in a Four Corners carbon trading plan, decreasing the impact of our coal-power plant neighbors to the south.