Colorado renewable energy bill passes state house

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A bill to double Colorado’s renewable energy supplies was adopted by the state’s House of Representatives late on Monday and sent to the Senate for debate.

The measure, which passed by a 59-to-5 vote, would raise Colorado’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 20 percent from 10 percent by 2020, directing investor-owned utilities to add more energy resources such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

It would also set the state’s first renewable energy standard for electric cooperatives, requiring them to derive 10 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020.

Twenty-three of the 50 U.S. states have established RPS guidelines or rules for the share of renewable power delivered to customers.

Colorado was the first state whose voters passed an RPS in 2004, setting a 10 percent renewable requirement by 2015.

“Support for clean energy has reached a tipping point this year,” said Will Coyne, program director of Environment Colorado. “Coloradans realize that renewable energy won’t just help protect our environment but will be a driver for Colorado’s economic future,” he said.

The bill will affect Xcel Energy Inc.’s Public Service Co. of Colorado subsidiary. The company is developing solar and wind power projects in the state and supports the measure.

Coal is the largest fuel for power generation in Colorado, followed by natural gas.