Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires Colorado utilities to get more electricity from the sun, wind, or plant and animal waste.
House Bill 1281 sailed smoothly through the state legislature, clearing the House and Senate, both with Democratic majorities, in about five weeks before landing on Ritter’s desk last month.
He promised during his election campaign to promote the generation of more electricity from renewable sources and reduce the use of fossil fuel such as coal or natural gas, an agenda supported by environmental activists, utilities and rural electric co-operatives except Intermountain Rural Electric Association.
The law requires utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as the sun, wind or biomass by 2020 – double the goal of 10 percent by 2015 set by Amendment 37, which voters passed in November 2004. Customers eventually would pay the cost incurred by utilities to comply with the renewable standards.
“The signing of this bill today says to the rest of the country, ‘We are open for business,’ ” Ritter said, soon after signing HB 1281 at the National Wind Technology Center near Boulder.
He referred to the decision by the Denmark-based Vestas to open a $59.9 million manufacturing facility in Windsor to make windmill blades that will employ more than 400 people as an impact of the law.
Ritter said he expects other companies to follow Vestas and come to Colorado.
He also signed Senate Bill 100, which allows utilities to propose transmission plans and recover those investments from electric ratepayers fairly expeditiously.
By Gargi Chakrabarty, Rocky Mountain News
28 March 2007
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