- Expand Colorado's Energy Business.
- Promote Energy Efficiency.
- Support New Clean Energy and the 30% Renewable Energy Standard.
- Promote Natural Gas as a cleaner, more sustainable fuel source.
- Support Clean Coal research.
"As a former geologist I know that most geologists are also conservationists." --John Hickenlooper
There is no single solution to energy supply or demand. All sources of supply should be used in the most economically efficient and environmentally sound manner. This includes oil, gas, low-sulfur coal, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. On the demand side, we must maximize energy efficiency and conservation, often described as the "First, Best and Least Cost" energy resources, by incorporating new technologies such as "smart grid" and Energy Star appliances.
We will continue the push for Colorado to lead the nation in developing the "New Energy Economy" based on sustainable and cleaner sources of power, including natural gas, solar and wind (all of which we have in abundance).
Strategies and Solutions
Expanding Colorado's Energy Business: We will convene an "Energy Business in Colorado" conference to showcase the success of local energy companies, as well as aggressively develop a coordinated strategy to recruit and welcome new companies and create new jobs. An important part of this effort will be to attract capital for these companies by reaching out to venture capital from across the country. A significant part of the conference will involve detailing the financial advantages of locating in Colorado and outreach from our administration to facilitate relocation and job development.
Efficiency: We have successfully worked with utilities, building owners and civic leaders to accelerate policies that save consumers money and improve the environment. We will expand these collaborative partnerships throughout the state. Denver's automobile fleet has reduced fuel costs and received many awards for innovation and commitment to fuel efficiency. The city uses a fleet of 3,533 alternative vehicles, comprised of hybrids, compressed natural gas, gasoline/CNG dual fuel, B20 biodiesel, propane and electric. We would look to duplicate this model at the state level.
New Clean Energy: Whether it's renewable energy, smart energy use technologies, or new ways to use older technologies, Colorado is a national leader. Our investor-owned electric utilities are in the top ten for renewable energy generation. We have a world-class wind resource. We have over 300 days of sunshine a year. We have some of the finest research institutions in the world. More importantly, no state has developed a more comprehensive set of policies to foster new and innovative energy technologies. We will work to retain and expand these major clean energy investments in Colorado.
Increasing the use of innovation and green technology will create jobs and economic growth. Colorado can continue to assert leadership in three ways:
1. Build on the renewable and energy efficiency policies currently in place.
2. Develop a more robust electricity transmission grid to support renewable energy generation and provide access for more of our energy to other markets.
3. Develop and implement the next generation of smart grid technologies to increase efficiency in our current systems.
Natural Gas: More than any other fuel, natural gas is critical to support clean, domestic energy, and Colorado is poised to be a national leader in both supply and use of gas. As we integrate more renewable energy onto the electricity grid we will need more gas fired generation. My administration will work to modernize our electricity generating facilities to create a balanced energy portfolio incorporating the flexibility provided by natural gas.
There is also an important role to be played by natural gas in transportation. Heavy trucks use 25 percent of transportation fuels. If these vehicles were converted to natural gas, we could reduce oil imports by almost 25 percent. We will work with our utilities to develop a transportation infrastructure for cars and trucks that runs on low cost, clean natural gas.
Instead of throwing out the oil and gas rules recently promulgated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission under the Ritter Administration, we believe it makes more sense to engage industry, the conservation community and other stakeholders in identifying conflicts and resolving them in a collaborative way. Most of the rules reflect industry best practices and we believe the commission process can accommodate changes that reflect different conditions, needs and priorities.
Coal: Coal has been workhorse for electricity generation for decades. Nearly 65 percent of Colorado's power is coal based. However, health-based clean air standards are driving utilities to take a second look at their reliance on coal. As Congress contemplates energy legislation and a new national energy/climate plan, it seems clear that coal will continue to play a very large role in Colorado's energy future. But increasingly, that role will depend on advances in sequestration and other technologies designed to make coal cleaner. We will work with the Western Governors Association and Congress to ensure that clean coal technology is included in federal legislation.
Download a complete version of all of our issue papers here.