Conservatives Lose Again, Trying to Eliminate Renewable Energy

In yet another attempt to eliminate renewable energy – this time in Colorado – conservatives lost in federal appeals court. 

Judges unanimously upheld a lower court’s ruling that Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is indeed constitutional. Ultra-right wing Energy and Environment Legal Institute (EELI – formerly the American Tradition Institute) brought the case, arguing that the RPS harms inter-state commerce.

EELI, which has ties to the coal industry, says that by requiring utilities to source a percentage of energy from renewables, it unlawfully regulates fossil fuels from out-of-state. They claim the mandate unfairly burdens coal company Alpha Natural Resources and others.

Judges say the plaintiffs "utterly failed" to show excessive burdens compared to local benefits.

"This is a landmark day. This ruling affirms the ability of states to choose their own energy future as part of a national framework and interstate commerce," says Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). "The nation’s 29 renewable energy standards continue to play a important role in diversifying the country’s electricity portfolio’s in order to advance key public policy interests – including protecting consumers against fuel-price risk, improving overall system reliability and creating significant clean air and water benefits such as reducing carbon pollution and conserving fresh water."

Renewable Portfolio Standard 2014

Colorado was the first state to adopt a RPS, voted in by citizens in a referendum. Wind power alone supports about 7,000 well-paying jobs, including manufacturing jobs at 22 factories in the state. The industry has attracted $7.8 billion in capital to Colorado’s economy, says AWEA. 

Colorado’s RPS requires investor-owned utilities to use 30% renewable energy by 2020 and electric coops and municipal utilities to use 10-20% by 2020.

Read our article, Memo Exposes Conservative Campaign to Turn Public Opinion Against Renewable Energy.

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