Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national nonpartisan business group that advocates for smart environmental policies, recently released a report detailing how clean energy can help grow the state’s economy while combating climate change.
E2 said in a press release that although Colorado has long had a leading clean energy economy, it could fall behind if lawmakers do not update policies to seize opportunities in renewables, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles.
RJ Mastic, CEO of the Denver energy efficiency company Ecosystems Group Inc., says promoting these technologies is crucial to curbing climate change, “but at the same time, these technologies can grow Colorado’s economy and create good jobs.”
As clean energy technologies improve and the costs of wind and solar energy fall, the report says, many of Colorado’s energy policies become antiquated. E2’s Rocky Mountains advocate Susan Nedell says Colorado needs to act soon if it wants to remain a clean energy competitor.
The report urged lawmakers to strengthen and extend its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires investor-owned utilities to source 30 percent of their electricity from renewables. It’s set to expire in 2020, and if that happens, E2 warns the state’s wind and solar industries, which employed up to 12,000 people in 2015, could fall behind.
E2 suggested adopting policies to promote electric vehicle usage as well, such as the Zero Emission Vehicles standard, which requires that a certain percentage of cars sold are electric or hybrids. It says this will help the state’s largest cities meet federal ozone standards.
The report also says Colorado could become more energy efficient and save taxpayer dollars by switching to LED streetlights, a relatively cheap project.
Read the full report here.