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Colorado updates clean energy vision

The economy, as well as the environment, could depend on a cleaner vision, the state's governor said.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper lays out new 2018 vision for the state-wide clean energy plan. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper lays out new 2018 vision for the state-wide clean energy plan. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Building on executive actions from July, Colorado's governor revised the state climate plan to include emissions abatement and an electric vehicle corridor.

Gov. John Hickenlooper in July outlined a mandate to cut state-wide greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25 percent from their 2005 levels and cut the emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, from the electricity sector by 25 percent.

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In his final State of the State address in January, Hickenlooper said greening up the state economy would be what led to greater investments in a 21st century energy sector. In October, he led a bipartisan coalition of Western states in announcing plans for an electric vehicle corridor that would affect more than 5,000 miles of highway.

"Colorado is committed to doing its part to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our climate," he said late Wednesday. "A lot is at stake for Colorado's quality of life, its economy and its environment."

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In its climate plan for 2018, the state government said state gross domestic product grew 27.5 percent over the 15-year period ending in 2014, while CO2 emissions per unit of GDP fell by 15.7 percent. Last year, more than 60,000 jobs were tied to clean energy in some form.

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For costs, in the five years ending in 2015, the average price for wind energy dropped more than 50 percent, while the average price for solar declined 74 percent.

In its new plan, the state said renewable energy could make up 55 percent of the energy mix by 2026 if it's approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.

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The governor has said that even those that disagree on climate issues can agree that Colorado needs to protect the environment in order to build an economy for the future.

Before the governor's State of the State speech, Senate Republicans in the state introduced a proposal to overhaul the state energy office and rename the state's clean and renewable energy fund as the "energy fund," because GOP leaders said the current name indicates Colorado plays favorites.

"Colorado is blessed to be an energy superpower among states, " Assistant Majority Leader Ray Scott said.

Colorado is rich in shale oil reserves, supplying about 3 percent of total U.S. crude oil production in large part from its Niobrara and Denver-Julesberg basins.

The 2018 climate plan focuses on eight key areas, ranging from ecosystem management to public health and water.

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