United States

United States

Colorado mandate for investor-owned utilities rejected

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In a clearly non-partisan vote, the Colorado Senate Business Affairs and Labor Committee voted four to three against legislation that would require the state's two investor owned utilities -- Xcel Energy and Aquila Inc -- to acquire 8% of their electricity from wind and other renewable resources by 2010. The law would have required the two utilities to buy a minimum 500 MW of renewable energy by 2006, about 900 MW by 2010 and 1800 MW by 2020, according to the Coalition for New Energy Technologies. Colorado has 58 MW of installed wind generation and GE Wind Energy's Lamar wind farm will add 161 MW this year. That energy will go to Xcel Energy (Windpower Monthly, October 2002), which supported the proposed renewables portfolio standard (RPS). The structure of the RPS included a cost cap, a credit-trading system, triple credit for solar resources and 150% credit for renewable energy generated in enterprise zones. Colorado's many public electric utilities would have been exempt from the RPS. This is the second year running that Colorado renewables advocates have attempted to move an RPS through the state's legislature. For the most part, the idea fell on deaf ears last year, but the legislation this year was approved by the House in February and had broad support going into the Senate. Supporters touted fuel cost stability resulting from wind development, while the bill's detractors said the legislation would cost consumers more.

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