Colorado’s New Energy Economy will continue to grow if CO HB1164 (pdf) is passed. The bill would helps mitigate our carbon footprint by opening the market to the creation of new energy technologies including large-scale solar power production. It also directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to consider purchasing utility-scale solar power when it’s feasible to do so, and to take into account the future cost of carbon-based energy sources and the impact of greenhouse gases when purchasing energy. Instead of wishing the past was still the present, Democrats like Rep. Judy Solano (D-Brighton) and Gov. Bill Ritter are looking forward into the 21st century. The first step, recognizing the dangers climate change pose, and the second step, recognizing we can’t drill our way out of the problem, have been taken. This bill, like others introduced during this legislative session, work under the world-view that the “free-market”, if it indeed exists, has not led the way and more action is needed.
Colorado has one of the five largest potential solar markets in the nation. Colorado’s San Luis Valley, which is experiencing an economic downturn, would especially benefit from passage of HB 1164. The San Luis Valley has been identified as one of the best solar energy producing regions in the nation, and this type of legislation has the potential to drive tremendous economic growth. Estimates suggest that even one large scale solar plant could lead to as many as 250 new high-skilled jobs and as much as $2 billion in private investment.
On Tuesday, the House approved the measure with bi-partisan support by a vote of 43 to 21.
The other item that caught my attention is a little more fun: the western painted turtle has been voted as Colorado’s official state reptile by the House. One more Senate vote and the Governor’s signature are all that await final designation.