Renewable energy bill faces final test |

Renewable energy bill faces final test

Aspen Times Staff Report

A bill that would require major energy producers in Colorado to use more renewable resources was passed by a committee in the state Senate this week, but still faces an uphill battle for approval, according to a key proponent.

The Senate Local Government Committee passed the bill 6-0 Tuesday. It will now go to the Senate floor, though no debate is scheduled. The bill has already passed the House.

Currently there aren’t enough votes to earn approval in the Senate, according to Stephanie Bonin, a lobbyist with Environment Colorado, which is seeking approval. The prime sponsors are working on amendments to try to gain approval, she said.

Pitkin County’s state senator, Lewis Entz (R-Hooper), is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill was also supported by Holy Cross Energy, which supplies electricity to about 50,000 customers in the Roaring Fork Valley and Interstate 70 corridor. The Glenwood Springs-based utility company fought a similar bill last year. It worked with proponents to address technical concerns in this year’s version. Holy Cross CEO Kent Benham testified in favor of the bill.

If passed the bill will require Xcel Energy and Aquilla, the two power producers in Colorado, to increase the portion of electricity produced by wind, hydro, solar, geothermal and biomass sources. Their production from alternative sources would have to increase to 900 megawatts by 2010.