How Colorado's Renewable-Energy Legislation Is Influencing Congress

September 22 2010, 3:30 PM

Bipartisan efforts in D.C. are rare these days, but a group of Democrats and Republicans have introduced legislation to require utilities to meet a renewable-energy standard similar to one already in place in Colorado after being approved by voters in 2004. Under the legislation, utilities across the nation would have to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from sources such as wind and sun (via The New York Times).

Denise Bode, chief executive officer for the American Wind Energy Association, calls the proposal "modest," beginning with a three percent goal that must be met by 2012 and rising to 15 percent by 2021, notes the Denver Business Journal. That’s a lesser standard than Colorado's, which calls for a 30 percent goal by 2020.

The bill has just three Republican co-sponsors at the moment and may need several more to clear the 60-vote hurdle to end debate in the Senate. While some Democrats could oppose the measure, Colorado U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet are not among them, writes The Colorado Indpendent. Udall says the measure is needed to "create jobs and spur economic development." He points out that Colorado's law, combined with other efforts, has created 20,000 new jobs.

"We can do that at the national level, too," he adds.