A Clean Energy Future for Colorado: On the Path to 100% Renewables

Colorado is home to the largest number of national research labs in the United States, some of the best research universities, an abundance of wind, water, and sunshine, and an exceedingly skilled workforce. 

We have a unique opportunity to lead the nation in clean energy development so all Coloradans can enjoy cleaner air, cheaper electricity, and access to thousands of new clean technology, middle-class jobs - we need a Governor to act on it.

My policies focus on spurring investment in renewable energy development and will expand our innovative green energy economy, protect our state’s natural beauty, and set an example for the nation on how to progress responsibly. It is good economics, good for healthy living, and the right thing to do for current AND future generations of Coloradans. Guided by my goal of reaching 45% renewable energy statewide by 2026 - one of the most aggressive goals in the nation - Colorado will be on a strong trajectory to reach 100% renewable energy.

Doubling Renewables Within 8 Years
By the end of my tenure as Governor, it will be my goal for our state to have more than doubled the amount of energy we generate from renewable resources - Colorado averages 22% statewide today - my policy sets a standard of 45% statewide by 2026.  This policy, informed by Colorado’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), academics from CU, and environmental experts throughout the state is one of the most aggressive in the nation and will set us on a strong trajectory to achieve a 100% renewable energy future.

On Day 1 as Governor, I will appoint a clean energy industry expert-led “Colorado Commission on Future Electric Development” to develop a statewide energy blueprint that will begin a transition from heavy polluting fossil fuels to clean energy generation, and establish a timeline to reach 100% renewable energy by utilizing solar, wind, geothermal, and storage technologies.

As Governor, I will also appoint Public Utility Commissioners who are renewable energy oriented, with the goal being that any new power plants approved or built in Colorado are based on renewable resources only and that we do not extend the planned lives of current fossil-fuel based electric generation plants. Moreover, Colorado’s electric providers can utilize the savings from cost-efficient renewable resources to accelerate the retirement of expensive, inefficient, and polluting electricity generating sources.

Standing Up to Trump on Energy and the Environment
My administration will fight back against the Trump Administration and Republicans in Washington’s attempts to chip away at our environmental protections, by adhering to the principles of the Paris Climate Accord and always standing up for science. Leading the energy transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy requires fierce leadership and accountability.

My clean energy plan aggressively pursues increased adoption of renewable energy technologies that utilize our natural solar, wind, and geothermal resources to create sustainable energy without raising energy prices for our people. This transition will bring sustainable, high paying jobs to Colorado, revitalize communities where wind and sunshine are abundant, protect the natural resources that make our state so special, and combat the impacts of climate change, to ensure a healthy future for our people and our state.

A Modern Grid
Colorado’s electric grid (the poles and wires you see outside) is nearly 100 years old. As Governor, I will push to modernize our grid with innovative 21st century technology so it ’s smarter, more efficient, more reliable, and can handle more renewable resources. Grid upgrades will also attract more high-tech clean energy companies to Colorado, that will generate new clean tech jobs across the state.

Opening Up Our Electricity Market, for More Competition, Consumer Choice, and Lower Prices
Colorado is a pioneer state. We are founded on forging new ground, and creating the future that we want to see. The way Coloradans are offered electricity is not consistent with that pioneer mindset. Many of us are offered one provider (the utility), and the electricity we buy is sourced from whatever coal, natural gas, or renewable resources were generating electricity that day. Today, markets across the country have transformed, and it is time for Colorado to at the very least assess what impacts that change would bring to Colorado.

For example,  imagine a Colorado where you can decide where your electricity comes from instead of having a choice between two big utilities or no choice at all. Imagine getting solar power from Pueblo, wind energy from the Eastern Plains, and/or continued service from your current utility. This is the reality in 18 states. We can do it in Colorado too.

In addition to studying what impact an electric choice marketplace might have, my administration will work to remove the barriers that block or slow down renewable resource development and adoption, by opening up markets to renewable developers. When Colorado removes barriers to renewable energy development, we can truly spur an economic transformation, driving our economy to be a renewable energy powerhouse, while actively fighting climate change and reducing harmful emissions from our electric sector. Competition among our energy providers will drive down the price of electricity for folks across Colorado, but more importantly, it will give the power of choice back to the consumer, as households and businesses will have broader options for how to purchase and use renewable energy.

Fostering Research Into New Green Technologies
I will empower our state research universities to identify and develop scalable, 21st Century technologies, including battery storage, smart grid technology, energy efficiency technology, and renewable resource development technology, to allow for the broad adoption of non-polluting electricity generating sources throughout our state. In addition, I will collaborate with our research institutions to promote and develop high-benefit electricity storage facilities (which store energy when the sun isn't shining and the wind blowing).

Green Job Training and Retraining
As Governor, I will link my clean energy plan with a statewide job training and apprenticeship program, to train the next generation of young people in the skills needed to work in wind, solar, and other renewable industries, and to re-train and provide career growth and economic development programs to workers whose jobs and local economies are impacted by the transition to clean energy.

For while energy has been a major economic driver in Colorado in the past, we can keep that tradition going only if we train our people in these new, renewable energy jobs of tomorrow. And these jobs will pay middle-class wages, cannot be outsourced, and will help increase the nation’s security by decreasing our dependence on foreign energy sources.