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Colorado signs into law interconnectivity standards

Denver>>Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) attended today’s signing of four key renewable energy laws. “Rocky Mountain Farmers Union was excited to work for the passage of all four pieces of legislation signed by Governor Bill Ritter,” stated Kent Peppler, President, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “We commend the legislature for their programs that support renewable energy and the bill sponsors for their vision of a sustainable future.” The legislation will help Colorado move ahead with a new energy economy outlined in Governor Ritter’s Colorado Promise.

House Bill (HB) 1169 sets interconnection standards that remove obstacles to the expansion of renewable energy systems. This legislation complements the current, minimal net metering authority that exists for members of Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives.

“Interconnection standards are an important step towards facilitating more collaboration between the rural electric co-ops and the renewable industries,” said State Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont), Senate sponsor of HB 1169.

Representative Judy Solano (D–Brighton), House sponsor of HB 1169, said, “I hope we can work together and pass a bill that will give true net-metering to the people in Colorado who want to work towards the renewable energy future.”

“Rising energy costs are hurting the family farmer,” said Tony Frank, RMFU Director of Renewable Energy Development. “Renewable energy can help, and this bill can make local wind, solar, and hydro power more attractive to farmers and ranchers.”

The bill signing ceremony included three other renewable energy bills. HB 1203, sponsored by Rep. Fischer (D-Ft. Collins) and Sen. Romer (D-Denver), will fund studies of the feasibility and potential market for carbon sequestration in rural Colorado. HB 1150, sponsored by Rep. Gardner (R-Yuma) and Sen. Kester (R-Las Animas), creates the Colorado Clean Energy Development Authority to provide loans and grants for clean energy transmission lines. HB 1279, sponsored by Rep. Gardner (R-Yuma) and Sen. Shaffer, provides a sales and use tax exemption for renewable energy machinery.

Other organizations worked with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union to secure passage of renewable energy legislation. Will Coyne, Environment Colorado, said of the new laws, “It’s time for Colorado to remove the barriers to homegrown energy. We need to pass strong net-metering legislation that will allow anybody to use renewable energy at their home or business.”

The CEO of Colorado Corn Growers Association, Mark Sponslor, called HB 1169 “an important piece of groundwork in establishing standards in interconnection,” and Barbara Walker, Independent Bankers of Colorado, said, “Representative Solano’s net metering bill is an important step toward enabling each of us to employ renewable energy resources and stimulating economic activity in our state, especially in our rural communities.” Beth Hart, Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association, said, “I think it’s great that we have succeeded in an interconnection agreement.”