Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hickenlooper signs bill to double rural renewable-energy floor

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signed into law a controversial bill doubling the renewable-energy requirements for rural electric cooperatives.

The bill, SB 252, requires that by 2020 rural electricity cooperatives provide at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable generation. That doubles the standard that was put in place in 2007.

It was one of the most hotly contested bills of the legislative session, pitting environmental groups and renewable-energy companies against rural cooperatives and Republican lawmakers.

There were marathon hearings and floor sessions that stretched into the night.

"Well, let me think about this a little more," Hickenlooper joked as he signed the bill. "Voila, it's the law."

The bill was opposed by the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which provides about 95 percent of the power used by 18 Colorado co-ops.

The argument made by Tri-State officials is that meeting the time frame of seven years to more than double renewable-energy generation would be costly ? as much as $3 billion ? and perhaps impossible.

Supporters said it would help diversify Colorado's generation portfolio and offer development opportunities for rural areas.

Mark Jaffe: 303-954-1912, or

Staff writer Lynn Bartels contributed to this report.


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