Colorado raises state RPS

By Anna Austin
Posted March 24, 2010, at 11:27 a.m. CST

With the signing of a bill anticipated to create thousands of new jobs, Colorado-the first U.S. state to enforce a renewable portfolio standard (RPS)-has once again moved to the front of the pack of states that have followed its lead over the years, and is now second in aggressiveness to only Maine's RPS of 40 percent by 2017.

On March 22, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law HB 10-1001, calling for Colorado to draw 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The bill trumps the state's previous goal of 20 percent by 2020, an amendment that passed in 2004.

The bill requires a portion of the RPS to be met through a subset of renewable generation, or "distributed generation" (DG), which does not require additional transmission facilities to connect to the grid. By 2015 and through 2019, 20 percent of retail electricity sales in Colorado must be renewable with DG equaling at least 1� percent of retail electricity sales; 30 percent of its retail electricity sales by 2020 and thereafter with DG equaling at least 3 percent of its retail electricity sales.

All providers of retail electric service in Colorado, other than municipally owned utilities that serve 40,000 customers or fewer, are considered required utilities.

Twenty nine U.S. states now have renewable electricity standards; those which do not are primarily in the south.