Ritter signs Tyler’s bill increasing renewable energy use
DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter Monday signed into law a measure sponsored by Rep. Max Tyler (D-Lakewood) that will require Colorado utility companies to meet the highest renewable energy standard in the Rocky Mountain West, requiring 30 percent of electricity generated by the power companies to come from renewable sources by 2020.
Tyler’s HB 1001 was sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Gail Schwartz and Bruce Whitehead.
“Today we continue to chart a new course for Colorado ’s New Energy Economy and America ’s clean energy economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “ Colorado is giving every state and the entire nation a template for tomorrow. This is a game-changer. We are transforming the future of Colorado and our country.”
Colorado voters in 2004, Coloradans approved Amendment 37, which set the country’s first voter-approved renewable energy requirement at 10 percent by 2015. Twice Ritter and legislators have changed that, first in 2007 doubled the voter-mandated requirement to 20 percent and extended the deadline to 2020. Tyler’s bill is the second time the standard has been changed.
Twenty-nine states have renewable energy requirements.
The bill also requires 3 percent of the new standard to be met by local solar power.
“With HB 1001 we will manufacture and install panels and turbines all over Colorado to capture free energy,” Tyler said.
Another renewable-energy product – solar panels – could get a boost through legislation introduced by Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood).
Kerr’s HB 1267 would make leasing solar panels more affordable for homeowners is awaiting Senate action after a clearing the House on a final 50-13 vote.
“This bill is a smart choice for Colorado. Homeowners will benefit from the affordability of leasing solar panels, the solar industry will benefit from an increase in business, and Colorado will benefit from an increase in green energy usage,” Kerr said.
Under the measure, homeowners who sell their houses could assign the lease to the new owners.
Under current law, homeowners who purchase solar panels are exempt from the property taxes on them, but those who lease panels are not. Kerr said his bill would “create a level playing field by treating leased and owned panels the same.”
Earlier this month, a plan to trim the “fat” from state government failed to muster enough votes to make it out of committee and its sponsor, state Sen. Mike Kopp R-Lakewood-South Jeffco, said the bill, which had bipartisan support, died because of “hyper-partisan” politics.
Kopp’s Senate Bill 165, dubbed a “Blueprint for a Leaner Government”, would have sought out and identified “redundancies and waste” in state government, Kopp said.
SB 165 would have created two bipartisan study groups to examine state agencies and functions and regulatory duties to find more efficient ways of doing business.
But Kopp’s measure failed a crucial test, falling 3-2 in the State Affairs Committee.
“While the bill had bipartisan support, the hyper-partisan State Affairs Committee killed the bill and provided no credible rationale for doing so,” Kopp wrote in his Weekly Capital update.
Other bills introduced by Lakewood state legislators: