Expanded renewable energy bill lands on governor’s desk

SB252Despite the efforts of a broad coalition of rural and urban partners, along with supportive editorials by five of the state’s largest newspapers, legislation known as Senate Bill 252, aimed at doubling Colorado’s current 10 percent renewable energy standard on rural electric cooperatives, has cleared both the House and Senate and is now in Gov. Hickenlooper’s hands. He has 30 days in which to sign it into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

The legislation would require the state’s electric co-ops with more than 100,000 meters (which includes only Intermountain Rural Electric Association, a non-Tri-State member) and wholesale power cooperatives, namely Tri-State, to supply at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. Originally, the bill called for an even more onerous 25 percent renewable requirement, but the House reduced that mandate last week to 20 percent by 2020.

Despite that adjustment, Tri-State and CREA officials have explained to legislators and members of the media that this mandate is unachievable and will place a significant financial burden on rural Colorado citizens, businesses, ranches, farms and families.

SB 252 leaves in place the 10 percent renewable portfolio standard that is applicable to all of Tri-State’s Colorado member co-ops. It also provides that if a member system’s purchase of renewable energy from Tri-State would require the co-op’s retail rate to increase by more than 2 percent, Tri-State’s obligation to acquire renewable generation is reduced.

If you wish to voice your opposition to this bill you can contact the Governor’s office at 303-866-2471 asking him to veto SB 252 or send him an e-mail using the link provided on the Keep Electricity Affordable web site.

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