Climate changeEnergy

On renewable energy, Colorado appears to be ahead of the target set by President Biden

When it relates to renewable energy sources, Colorado is ahead of other states and the United States, with nearly two-thirds expected to come from solar and wind power by 2030. The cost of constructing and sustaining renewable energy sources, according to energy experts, will determine how quickly the state can expand its renewable energy portfolio.

According to a recent assessment released by President Joe Biden’s administration, solar power might provide 40 percent of the country’s electricity during the next 15 years. Biden is set to speak about investing billions in tackling climate change as a portion of his Build Back Better program when he tours Tuesday’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Arvada campus.

According to Noah Long, who serves as the western region director in charge of the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate and Energy Program, while Colorado is unlikely to meet the federal 40 percent solar target — even by the year 2050 — it is going to almost certainly exceed 40 percent renewables target by the end of the decade. “By 2030, I believe you’ll see 60 to 70 percent renewables,” Long said. “The issue is how that is divided between solar and wind power.”

According to Senior Energy Analyst at the NREL Robert Margolis, Colorado is well-positioned in all categories, allowing it to play a greater or even “outsized” role in the national push for renewables. “It’s in the middle of everything, and it has land,” Margolis added. “It has the potential to be pivotal.”

Long’s predictions appear to be in line with Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which estimates that renewable energy could account for up to 68 percent of the state’s energy by 2030, with solar accounting for 17 percent and wind accounting for 51 percent. Around 85% of the state’s electricity might come from renewable sources by 2050. (About 58 percent wind and 27 percent solar).

As per Keith Hay, who is the director of utility policy for Colorado Energy Office, the state’s goal isn’t so much to invest more in solar or wind as it is to cut greenhouse gas emissions in perhaps the most reasonable and fair way possible.

Electric companies must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by the year 2030, according to Will Toor, Colorado Energy Director, primarily by “retiring obsolete and expensive coal facilities and substituting them with wind, solar, and battery storage.”

Colorado Springs Utilities shifted from coal to the natural gas at Martin Drake Power Plant late last month. However, the utility will continue to burn coal until 2029 at a facility southeast of town.

Colorado Springs Utilities’ Alex Baird said, “We left the door wide open for what we’re going to supply our future requirements with when we retire (Ray Nixon plant).” “We want to keep it open so that we can get the most cost-effective power for our community. It’s possible that it’s solar. It might be wind… anything but thermal (coal or natural gas).” 

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