Colorado’s energy transition can be an economic boom

Colorado lawmakers will return to the Statehouse in January with a huge opportunity to lower energy costs and improve electricity reliability for Coloradans. Yes, inflation will likely still be high, but so are the opportunities for Republicans and Democrats to work together on the energy issues facing our state.

New federal legislation will see billions in federal dollars and private investment flow into the state, and our elected officials in the General Assembly, along with Governor Jared Polis, will be ideally positioned to transform Colorado’s transition to clean energy. economic boom for the entire state.

The Inflation Reduction Act and last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill aim to lower energy costs for households and businesses. The cost of electricity has a lot to do with where we get our energy from, and more local clean energy means Coloradans will be protected from the price fluctuations associated with fossil fuels.

State lawmakers and Governor Polis will be tasked with ensuring that as many households, schools and businesses as possible use money from the Inflation Reduction Act to adopt clean and energy-efficient technologies that will keep energy costs low. The demand created by using these dollars will make it easier for developers and companies to launch new clean energy projects in Colorado. In the meantime, our elected officials can make sure the state’s energy providers take advantage of 10 years of tax credit certainty for new solar and wind projects, allowing for even more steady growth in low-cost renewable energy.

Legislators in the General Assembly have already demonstrated an ability to find common ground on the state’s energy issues.

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Two years ago, Colorado passed bipartisan legislation designed to strengthen energy availability and reliability. The state has set the wheels in motion with the Colorado Electric Transmission Authority to build new and updated transmission infrastructure to act as a highway for renewable energy. And thanks to the modernization of local energy infrastructure and cooperation with other states throughout the West to better connect our electric system, our state is on a promising path.

Better coordination with neighboring states will not only be key to delivering cheap, reliable power when and where it’s needed most, but will also give Colorado the ability to sell and export excess power, adding a new source of revenue to our economy and keeping the lights on. at a lower price during extreme weather.

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This recent state law also opens the door to new and improved economic opportunities in rural communities. Connecting clean energy from hard-to-reach places to energy hubs that can send it across the state will translate into local jobs as we build the transmission lines needed to connect the two.

These jobs will provide paychecks to workers and families as part of a larger clean jobs trend in Colorado. As of 2021, the advanced energy sector accounted for 66,000 jobs in the state. Regardless of which side of the aisle they are on, it should be easy for lawmakers to create even more jobs. In the coming year, Colorado leaders can accelerate the construction of new renewable energy projects and much-needed transmission infrastructure to spur new jobs and ensure safe and reliable energy for all.

What’s more, the Bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Act will spur further investment in making our communities and our power grid more resilient to wildfires, severe weather and other emergencies. New funding for clean backup energy sources such as microgrids, energy storage technologies, and even stored clean energy in electric school bus batteries can help keep homes and critical services powered in any situation.

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We can already see how it will work. Xcel Energy, which serves millions of energy customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and the Midwest, estimates the inflation-reduction law will help reduce the price of a new solar project in Minnesota by about 20 percent and provide local jobs to the community with the closure of the coal plant. There is no reason why Colorado cannot benefit in a similar way.

Currently, Coloradans are facing rising energy costs due to the price of natural gas, which is especially high right now but always fluctuating. But with bipartisan cooperation, forward-thinking energy policies and the coming federal investment to support them, our lawmakers can lower costs and ensure all Coloradans can reap the benefits of a clean energy economy.


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