Way back in 2004, Colorado voters approved the state’s first Renewable Energy Standard: 10% by 2015. Xcel Energy was among the large group of critics of that measure, trotting out the usual arguments against any kind of standard or regulation – the industry would collapse, the standard couldn’t be met by 2015, thousands of jobs would be lost, yada, yada, yada.
As proponents predicted, none of that happened. In fact, the industry is stronger and there are more jobs, thanks in part to the RES. Moreover, the RES was met years in advance of the goal, demonstrating how easy it is to begin moving away from dirty energy. In light of the early RES achievement, the state legislature in 2006 doubled the RES to 20% by 2020. Fewer critical voices were heard given the evidence in front of everybody. Still, some complained about the heavy hand of government and continued whining about lost jobs – all the while never offering solutions to generate new jobs, as frequently happens.