In a 37-27 vote Tuesday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed legislation to double the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandate on the state's large rural electric cooperatives. Due to House-made amendments, S.B.252 will return to the state Senate, which passed the bill in mid-April.
The Senate-passed legislation originally required the state's rural utilities to procure 25% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 – a boost from the current 10% by 2020 RPS co-ops must meet. As amended, however, S.B.252 will establish a slightly smaller RPS increase to 20% by 2020.
The legislation has caused much debate among state utilities and renewable energy advocates.
Despite a 2% rate-increase cap included in S.B.252, Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association believes the higher RPS mandate will prove too costly for utilities and, thus, ratepayers. Lee Boughey, a Tri-State spokesperson, told the Denver Post that the legislation ‘remains significantly flawed. More is needed to be done to protect rural communities from its cost.’
Advocacy group Conservation Colorado, meanwhile, applauds the passage of S.B.252.
"We congratulate our Colorado representatives and senators who have championed nation-leading legislation to expand clean wind and solar energy to all of Colorado," Pete Maysmith, executive director Conservation Colorado, said in a statement. "With the House passing S.B.252, Colorado is once again at the forefront of diversifying our energy sources and encouraging investment in clean and innovative energy to power our future."