July 18 (UPI) -- A commitment from Denver's mayor to use renewable energy for all city facilities by the middle of the next decade is a win for the state, advocates said.
In his annual State of the City address from earlier this week, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he would move to abate the risks from climate change with strong renewable energy commitments.
"We're going to lead by example by moving our city facilities to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025," he said.
The commitment includes benchmarks for city-owned facilities and a benchmark for the community level by 2035 under the so-called 80 x 50 plan.
Step-by-step benchmarks beyond the 2025 target date to 2050 extend into the electric vehicle market, energy efficiency and renewable energy usage. The city set a goal to cut energy consumption in single-family homes by 20 percent by 2035 and encouraged residents to utilize incentives offered by utility Xcel Energy and Denver programs.
"I know those are bold, aspirational goals, and I know cost and technology will determine how we get there," the mayor said. "But we must act, and I'm grateful for our partnership with Xcel Energy, the nation's leading utility when it comes to reducing emissions and building a path toward a clean energy future."
Gov. John Hickenlooper last year 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.
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.
Speaking on the mayor's plan, Jim Alexee, the director of the Colorado chapter of the Sierra Club, said the commitments would have state-wide benefits.
"This is a huge victory for Colorado," he said in a statement. "With a commitment to 100 percent clean energy, our capital city is demonstrating that it is taking serious action on these issues."
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.I