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Clean Energy Agenda Set for Colorado

Denver, Colo. – Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) joined leaders of labor, agriculture, and the energy industry today to stand with Governor Bill Ritter and legislative leadership to lay out energy priorities for the 2007 legislative session.

The energy package not only creates building and construction jobs, but will also help open up Colorado’s vast wind power potential on Colorado’s Eastern Plains.

“We have only just begun to tap the enormous wind energy potential from Colorado’s Eastern Plains,” said Leland Swenson, executive director, RMFU. “This energy plan will create enormous economic benefits for rural Colorado.”

This agenda, announced by Senate President Joan Fitzgerald and House Majority Leader Alice Madden, begins to fulfill their commitment to create a new energy economy for Colorado.

“Today, our state leaders have set an incredible plan in motion,” said Will Coyne, program director, Environment Colorado. “We’re doubling the amount of clean energy we use, moving wind power on the wires from Colorado farms to our homes, and eliminating barriers for individuals to use renewable energy on their property.” Legislation includes the following:

• Renewable Energy Development Act of 2007 – Sets renewable energy standards where electric utilities get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy such as wind and solar power by 2020. Sponsors include Rep. Jack Pommer (D, Boulder) and Sen. Gail Schwartz (D, Snowmass Village).

• Homegrown Energy – Eliminates barriers to installing clean energy and ensures that customers receive a fair price for the electricity they produce by setting state standards for interconnection and net-metering. Sponsors include Rep. Judy Solano (D, Brighton) and Sen. Brandon Shaffer (D, Longmont).

• Wind on the Wires – Creates incentives for energy companies to build or upgrade transmission lines for wind power by allowing companies to recoup costs during construction. Sponsors included Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald (D, Golden) and Rep. Buffie McFadyen (D, Pueblo West).

• Renewable Energy Mapping – Creates a 15-member task force to identify Colorado’s best renewable energy resources for electricity generation. Sponsors include Sen. Gail Schwartz (D, Snowmass Village).

• Wind for Schools – Creates funding for K-12 schools and community colleges to install wind turbines and reduce energy costs. Sponsors include Rep. Andy Kerr (D, Lakewood).

“This energy agenda creates thousands of good, high-paying, high-skilled jobs for Coloradans,” said Neal Hall, business manager, Colorado Building and Constructions Trade Council. “We look forward to putting in the hard work to make Colorado the nation’s leader in clean energy solutions.”