Colorado’s Roadmap for Clean Energy Action: Lessons from State and Local Leaders

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 9:00am
Colorado’s Roadmap for Clean Energy Action: Lessons from State and Local Leaders

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is holding its first field hearing in Boulder, Colorado on August 1st at 9:00 a.m. MDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT. The hearing is in the Wittemyer Court Room, Wolf Law Building at the University of Colorado Boulder, 2450 Kittredge Loop Drive, Boulder, CO.

The hearing - Colorado’s Roadmap for Clean Energy Action: Lessons from State and Local Leaders – features two panels.

“Our next moonshot is solving the climate crisis. I know we can do it. And I know Colorado is going to help us lead the way.” - U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor



Witness Testimony and Resources

Panel 1
Jared Polis (@JaredPolis), Governor of Colorado.
Earlier this year, Colorado adopted an economy-wide carbon pollution law that will cut emissions 90 percent by 2050. The state is also set to produce 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

“…Colorado has been among the states leading the clean energy transition. Not only do we have a moral imperative to combat climate change to protect the health of our communities and our environment, we also have an economic opportunity to lead the global clean energy revolution.” - Colorado Gov. Jared Polis

Electricity - Colorado has a renewable electricity standard and has seen dramatic reductions in the cost of wind and solar. A recent study from Vibrant Clean Energy found that the state could replace its coal plants with new wind and solar while saving ratepayers $2.5 billion and creating more jobs. Fourteen Colorado towns and counties have adopted 100% clean energy goals. 
Transportation - The state supports federal clean car standards, which the Trump administration is trying to roll back. Colorado has multiple programs to support vehicle electrification and has the fourth-highest electric vehicle market share in the country.
Buildings – The state recently passed a law (HB19-1260) to require local jurisdictions to adopt one of the three most recent International Energy Conservation Codes.
Cutting Methane Pollution – The state was the first to adopt requirements for oil and gas companies to cut methane emissions.
Panel 2
Suzanne Jones (@JonesZan), Mayor of Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is home to some of the country’s top climate and clean energy research facilities. It’s also in the middle of the climate crisis. Analysts have found that Boulder County faces $100 million to $150 million in climate costs, including from wildfires, reductions in air quality, and changes to precipitation that strain municipal water systems.
Boulder is also working on energy solutions. It’s one of many cities and counties in Colorado that have pledged to transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. The city has some of the highest rates of solar capacity per capita in the country. It’s also joined initiatives to trap carbon in the soil, which could sequester 10 to 20 percent of the city’s emissions while also increasing resilience to drought and other extreme weather events.
Wade Troxell (@WadeTroxell), Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins has been taking climate action for 20 years and is committed to cutting carbon pollution to net-zero by 2050. The city also has a goal of hitting 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Current programs are saving businesses $10 million a year through improved efficiency. Overall, solar and efficiency programs have generated $40 million in local economic benefits while supporting more than 200 jobs.
Fort Collins has used federal investments to electrify its bus fleet and further integrate its electric and transportation system. It’s also advocating for a statewide zero-emissions vehicle standard to cut pollution and improve public health.
Cary Weiner, Director of Colorado State University’s Rural Energy Center
Weiner and his team conduct assessments for small towns in Colorado to collaborate on delivering sustainable energy benefits to rural areas. That includes farm towns, mountain towns, and a coal town. Some of the solutions they’ve worked on include energy efficiency, lighting retrofits, and installing electric vehicle charging stations.
The group has also conducted feasibility assessments for wind and solar at 60 farms across Colorado. USDA state extension programs can play a critical role in delivering more clean energy benefits to rural areas.
Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services
The United States has gone from an importer of natural gas to the world’s third largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which has displaced some coal generation overseas. Because the United States has cut emissions from flaring and fugitive methane emissions, its natural gas production is generally less polluting that domestic production in other countries.
As Colorado has expanded its oil and gas production it’s also worked to cut emission from oil and gas operations.
Heidi VanGenderen, Chief Sustainability Officer for the University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado produces significant amounts of oil and natural gas, but its use of renewable energy has also doubled since 2010. Colorado first passed a renewable electricity standard via ballot initiative in 2004. Since then, Xcel Energy, the state’s largest energy provider has found great success with co-locating wind turbines on farms and eventually pushed the state government to expand its renewable electricity goals. Today, it’s the top wind producing utility in the country and is set to go 100% carbon free by 2050.
Universities and labs play an important role in cutting carbon pollution and understanding the climate crisis. The University Climate Coalition – of which UC Boulder is a part – helps institutions of higher learning collaborate and leverage their strengths. 
116th Congress