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Colorado Adopts 30% Renewable Energy Standard

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a bill mandating that the state generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Ritter said the bill, which also requires that at least 3 percent of electric power come from solar projects, would create “thousands” of new jobs and 100,000 new solar rooftops over the next decade.

“Today we continue to chart a new course for Colorado’s New Energy Economy and America’s clean energy economy,” Gov. Ritter said, signing the bill at SolSource, Inc., a Denver-based solar installation company. “Colorado is giving every state and the entire nation a template for tomorrow. This is a game-changer. We are transforming the future of Colorado and our country.”

The new 30% renewable energy goal follows on from Colorado’s 10% by 2015 target, as adopted in 2004, and takes over from a 20% by 2020 target set in 2007. The action by Colorado brings the total of states with Renewable Electricity Standards to 29, with Colorado’s 30% among the highest targets thus far. California has set the highest goal, a 33 percent target.

Sponsors of the renewable energy standard legislation said Colorado has attracted more than 230 solar companies to our state. The bill states that energy will have to come from renewable or recycled energy sources to count towards the Standard. Recovered heat and energy-from-waste will count, but nuclear power will not. Utilities would have to increase the proportion of electricity sourced from renewable projects from 3% in 2007 to 5% for the period 2008-2010, then requirements increase to 12% from 2011 to 2014, up to 20% for 2015 through 2019, then 30% in the years following.

Power suppliers will also have to provide a growing proportion of power from distributed generation systems—small-scale renewable projects—under the Bill. This rises from 0.5% of retail sales in 2010 up to 2% from 2011 to 2014, 3% from 2015 through 2019 and 3.5% from 2020. Companies will have the incentive to develop utility-scale renewable energy plants within Colorado, by being allowed to count an extra 250 watts of energy towards the Standard for every kilowatt generated in utility-scale plants located inside state boundaries.

The bill also seeks to set up a rebate program that would provide financial incentives for renewable equipment below 100 kW in scale. The rebates would be around $2 for every watt a utility customer produces above their requirements.

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