A late bill introduced into the Colorado Senate could send electric power rates skyrocketing for rural residents and businesses.
Senate Bill 252 would create a renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2020 for Tri-State Generation and Transmission customers, which include San Isabel, San Luis Valley and Southeast Colorado Power electric co-ops. Right now distribution cooperatives have a 10 percent standard by 2020 that was put in place in 1997, with the support of co-ops.
But now this more than doubling of renewable energy capacity would force Tri-State to comply with a Colorado-only standard, which could be unachievable. This would cost Tri-State billions of dollars to reach.
Tri-State would be forced to construct many new plants, both utilizing renewables and probably natural gas generators to balance out intermittent supplies typical of renewables.
Of course, the end users would have to foot the bill. This is a direct assault on rural Colorado.
This legislation had no input from rural constituencies. It was written behind closed doors with the environmental special interests.
There are only about four weeks left in the current legislative session. According to Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey, it appears the Democratic majority in the Senate wants to rush passage of the bill and send it to the House, where Democrats also enjoy a majority.
Two area Democrats, Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo and Rep. Ed Vigil of Alamosa, have signed on as co-sponsors of SB252. We believe both are misguided and are not serving the interests of their constituents with their sponsorship.
We urge both to removed their names from the bill and actively oppose it instead.
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