Colorado Weighs Renewable-Energy Bill

With the Bush administration doing little at the federal level to encourage production of renewable energy, states are taking the lead on the issue. The latest front is in Colorado, where a bill to require that utilities get 8 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 has passed the state House but is one vote short of passage in the Senate. The state’s two major utilities support the Renewable Portfolio Standards bill, but the largest state electricity co-op opposes it, along with the mining industry and several business-friendly state senators. One such senator, Doug Lamborn (R), added an amendment Wednesday that would remove a cap on how much of the renewable power could come from hydroelectric sources, a move he admits is intended to kill the bill. If the bill fails, enviros may attempt to make Colorado the first state to pass an RPS measure by ballot initiative. Some 15 other states currently have laws requiring a set percentage of power to be produced renewably.