Tuesday, Governor Bill Ritter signed into law House Bill 1281 which expands the Renewable Energy Standard enacted by Colorado voters in 2004. The bill doubles the standard enacted by voter-approved Amendment 37 from 10% by 2015 to 20% by 2020. HB 1281 passed both the House and Senate with broad support, with a 59-5 vote in the House and a 27-8 vote in the Senate.
"These new laws will improve our economic security, our environmental security and our national security," Governor Ritter said. "They will breathe new economic life into rural Colorado. They will create new jobs, and they will say to the rest of the world, 'Colorado is open for business in what will be one of the most important industries of the 21st century.'"
But Colorado has some tough competition: California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Minnesota and New Mexico all recently upped their Renewable Energy Standards as well to comparable or even higher levels. And some states that are coming later to the game are aiming big: Oregon's legislature is currently considering a 25% by 2025 standard that would put Oregon up towards the front of the pack [See previous post].
All of these states talk are competing for jobs in the growing cleantech/renewable energy field, one of the fastest growing new industries in the United States. The fierce competition to be "the Renewable Energy Capitol of the United States" is a good sign of the robust market ahead for renewable energy in the U.S.
Governor Ritter also signed into law Senate Bill 100 on Wednesday. SB 100 is a bill designed to encourage investment in the transmission necessary to bring new wind and other renewable energy to load centers in Colorado.
The Governor's office released the following fact sheets explaining HB 1281 and SB 100:
Fact Sheet for House Bill 1281 and Senate Bill 100
House Bill 1281
o Increasing Colorado’s share of the GDP by $1.9 billion through 2020.
o Increasing total wages paid to workers by $570 million.
o Increasing the workforce by 4,100 person-years of employment.
o Providing farmers, ranchers and other landowners with $50 million in lease payments for wind farms, crops and solar parks.
o Generating $400 million in property tax revenue through 2020 to fund education and other services, particularly in rural Colorado.
Senate Bill 100
[Image credit: Stateline.org]