The Colorado state Senate approved legislation Friday that would increase the state's renewable energy standard (RES) to 30% by 2020.
The legislation (House Bill 1001) now heads back to the House to concur with minor changes made by the Senate. If approved, it will then go to the desk of Governor Bill Ritter, who is expected to sign it into law.
It will require investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to dramatically increase their percentage of electricity sales coming from local, distributed renewable energy projects.
Colorado's new RES would be the second largest in the nation, behind California, which has mandated 33% by 2020.
Key Provisions in HB 1001 are expected to create 23,450 jobs in the state, according to a new report released by Vote Solar and Environment Colorado.
“Investing in the Sun” analyzes the benefits of building 1,000 megawatts (MW) of smaller, distributed solar energy systems in Colorado. In addition to other distributed generation resources such as small-scale wind, HB 1001 is expected to deploy 700 MW of solar generation by 2020.
“Solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than any other energy resource. This study was intended to shine a spotlight on the real and immediate economic development opportunity Colorado could realize if a stronger statewide solar requirement were enacted,” said Annie Carmichael, Vote Solar’s policy lead for Colorado.
Senate debate of the bill, which lasted more than a day and a half, turned bitter at times. And the vote fell along party lines, as Democrats voted in favor, while all Republicans opposed.