Did you know that in rural Colorado only 10% of energy is generated by clean energy sources while other major Colorado utilities are on pace to produce 30% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020? With abundant wind, plenty of sunshine, coal mine methane, and an environment worth protecting, it's time to recharge renewable energy in Colorado.
Senate Bill 252 will do just that!
SB 252, sponsored by State Senator Gail Schwartz, expands Colorado's clean energy portfolio by calling on rural cooperatives to generate more electricity from renewable energy sources. The bill increases the rural cooperative clean energy standard from 10% to 25%; places a 2% cap on renewable energy costs to consumers ensuring ratepayers do not experience noticeable electricity price hikes; provides "extra credit" for all resources acquired through 2015 in order to jump start important projects; facilitates the generation of local home-grown energy sources by requiring a small slice of the new energy standard come from local projects such as small wind, biomass, coal and solid waste methane, geothermal; and increases opportunities to capture vented methane gas from coal mines and municipal solid waste landfills.
For years now, the Conservation Center has encouraged local coal mines to capture the methane that must be vented to safeguard miners. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Converting the vented methane into a usable energy source could substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.
Local coal mines have argued that coal mine methane capture is not economically feasible because there are no incentives for utilities to purchase electricity generated from methane. SB 252 creates those incentives and opens the door to more coal mine methane capture projects similar to Oxbow Mining's methane capture project in Somerset, spearheaded by energy entrepreneur Tom Vessels.
SB 252 will keep Colorado a national leader in the development of clean and renewable energy sources, and create good-paying Colorado jobs in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. Moreover, expanding renewable energy in Colorado will help shield all Coloradans from unpredictable fossil fuel prices by providing a low-cost, reliable energy supply to power Colorado into the future.
SB 252 will provide jobs and reduce our carbon footprint by significantly reducing carbon emissions.