Republicans Take Aim Aim At High Cost Energy Mandates


     Republicans are pressing forward with bills to modify or repeal mandates for high cost renewable energy in Colorado   Although these measures are not likely to pass the Democrat controlled legislature, the measures are a clear sign that electricity mandates and rural community issues will play a strong role in the fall elections.

     The first bill, SB14-35 by Sen. Ted Harvey, would have repealed last year’s controversial measure, SB 13-252, which will double the amount of renewable energy rural electric utilities must provide by 2020. Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid and Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway spoke movingly about the impact of high cost energy mandates on local communities, and the challenges facing rural Colorado.

     Dianna Orf, testifying as an information witness for CMA, underscored the importance of coal mining to rural economies; over 24,000 people in Colorado owe their jobs to the industry.  She also took aim at boasts by the wind industry of “low costs,” pointing out that the renewable energy industry receives massive subsidies, including a credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for wind power. According to the Energy Research Institute, the wind and solar industries receive subsidies of $56 and $775 per megawatt hour, compared with only .64 cents for coal. The Senate State and Veterans Affairs Committee, the committee where bills go to die, killed the measure on a party line vote.

     But the issue is far from over. Bills to modify SB 252 have been introduced by Rep. Ray Scott (lowering the requirement), Rep. Kathleen Conti and Sen. Larry Crowder (extending the deadline). Those bills have not yet been scheduled for hearing.