Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good News for Colorado: Hickenlooper Signs Bill to Increase Rural Renewable Energy

Today is a good day for the people of Colorado. It was a little over two months ago that the Colorado legislature passed SB-252 to increase the renewable portfolio standard of large rural electric co-ops (more details on the bill here). All we were waiting for was the good governor's signature. Well, today Gov. Hickenlooper signed the bill into law! It wasn't a perfect bill (is there any such thing?), but the people of Colorado should be proud that their state is putting itself on a path of not only cleaner air, but more jobs and more glorious renewable energy. Thanks to our Colorado legislators for doing what's right for its constituents.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Xcel Asking for 550 Megawatts of Wind Power in Colorado

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Xcel Energy is asking the
Photo courtesy of NREL
Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for 550 more megawatts of clean renewable wind energy. The driving force behind this request for more wind power? Well, you have to thank Congress for extending the wind Production Tax Credit for two more years. This tax credit is going to keep wind industry jobs intact and wind power increasing across the land. Also, the tax credit keeps the cost of adding all of those megawatts low for Colorado customers. Kudos to Xcel and kudos to Congress for making clean energy a possibility for a least a couple more years. Let's hope the PUC passes Xcel's request.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Call to Action: Increase Renewables in Colorado

Image courtesy of UCAR

It's been awhile since my last post and I apologize. Much of my free time has been dabbling in worlds of Twitter / Facebook / Google+. How I've neglected you dear Denver Sun Sponge readers! Well, I do have something exciting to tell you about, which came to me through the good people at Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.

Colorado Senate Bill 252 was introduced last week and if passed would require large electric cooperatives (with +100,000 meters) to increase their renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 25% from 10% by 2020 as well as requiring 1% of retail sales to come from distributed generation (DG) sources. Colorado's current RPS requires investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the state to generate or purchase enough renewable energy (RE) to supply 30% of their retail electric sales by 2020. In addition, IOUs must have 3% of their retail sales from distributed generation (DG) sources. The current Colorado RPS also mandates that electric co-ops and municipal utilities serving more than 40,000 customers need to generate or purchase enough RE to supply 10% of their electric sales by 2020. There is no DG requirement for electric co-ops and munis in the current RPS.

For more information on the Colorado Senate Bill 252 please check out the Power of Wind's backgrounder (as of this writing Senate Bill 252 was not posted to the Colorado General Assembly website). If you would like to express your support (or opposition) to your Colorado elected officials about this bill then please head on over to the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado website to learn how to contact them. Thanks for reading and supporting a more renewable, efficient, and sustainable Colorado!

Update 4/13/2013:
The Colorado Senate approved the bill. Rural electric co-ops with more than 100K meters and utilities that generate and supply electricity for electric co-ops need to acquire 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Here's more info from the Denver Business Journal. Is this good for Colorado? What say you dear readers?

Update 4/10/13:
In an effort to look at both sides of the issue this Denver Post editorial titled, "Moving too Fast on Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard?" was published this morning and looks at some of the problems with the bill as currently written. (Hat tip to Anna Zawisza at Alliance for Sustainable Colorado for bringing the editorial to my attention.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Overcoming the Seven Sustainability Blunders

As sustainability practitioners we are used to banging our heads against the wall. We wonder why our bosses and colleagues don't "get it". We are dumbstruck by those that refuse to make a profit and still do good. We shake our heads at the refusal of people to think about future generations on the planet and what the world will look like if we propagate 20th century behavior in the 21st century. Yet we plug away, and continue the good fight, full of frustration, but somewhat satisfied with progress, albeit minimal.

If we'd like to see sustainable behavior take root faster (and reduce the amount of headaches we have), then this article titled, "Overcoming the Seven Sustainability Blunders" by Bob Doppelt is a must read.  I've heard of some of the blunders before, but there are a few new ones that I had never contemplated. Mr. Doppelt not only lists and describes the seven blunders, but he also provides ways to resolve the blunders through "interventions". There's a ton of information to digest in this article, so take it in slowly and deliberately, because it's critical that we begin to mitigate our blunders.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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