Why won’t Colorado eco-left consider hydropower renewable?

May 13, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers hydropower to be a renewable energy source.

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) calculates that carbon emissions from hydroelectric power are on par with wind and solar energy.

Last Thursday, Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leftist non-profit organization, testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee that hydroelectric power is renewable.

For more information on Weiss, see below.

Responding to question from Congressman Cory Gardner who asked Mr. Weiss if he considered hydropower to be “renewable,” Weiss stated, “yes it is.”

Video of that testimony is here. Congressman Gardner’s question to Weiss begins at the 1:53:27 mark.

Gardner went on to explain that Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives get a significant percentage of their power from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a federal hydropower project, yet that is not considered “renewable” under SB 252, the state bill to increase the renewable mandate on Colorado’s co-ops 100 percent by 2020.

Supporters of SB 252 claim to be concerned about carbon emissions, yet none advocate for hydro. Both the EPA and CAP consider hydro a renewable source, but supporters exclude most hydro from the bill.

This begs the questions: if hydro is renewable and clean and co-ops already use hydro, then why would the Colorado state legislature force them to comply with a mandate that excludes their clean source and requires a massive $2 billion to $4 billion build out?

Perhaps a better title for SB252 would have the “preferred” energy standard for rural electric cooperatives.

More about Weiss from his curriculum vitae:

Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at American Progress, where he leads the Center’s clean energy and climate advocacy campaign. Before coming to American Progress, he spent 25 years working with environmental advocacy organizations and political campaigns. Weiss is an expert in energy and environmental policy; legislative strategy and tactics; and advocacy communications.

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No love for reality of “renewable” energy in North Carolina

May 7, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

A newly released survey provides some powerful ammunition for North Carolina lawmakers who want to freeze the state’s renewable energy mandate at its current level rather than continue its increase to meet the 12.5 percent mandate by 2021.

The Raleigh, North Carolina, based Civitas Institute conducted the state-wide poll and found that while residents like renewable energy in theory they don’t like it in practice, in law, or in cost:

North Carolinians oppose the state law requiring utility companies to purchase a percentage of their energy from so-called renewable energy sources by more than 3-to-1…. Additionally, ratepayers strongly oppose the use of such energy sources as wind or solar if it means paying higher utility bills.

Break downs for responses to two specific questions listed below:

Do you support or oppose the increased usage of renewable sources to generate electricity?

70%    Total Support
15%    Total Oppose


42%     Strongly Support
28%     Somewhat Support
6%       Somewhat Oppose
9%       Strongly Oppose
15%     Undecided/Don’t Know
1%       Refused

Do you support or oppose the existing state law that requires you to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy each month, even if it costs you more?

21%    Total Support
67%    Total Oppose


10%     Strongly Support
11%     Somewhat Support
18%     Somewhat Oppose
49%     Strongly Oppose
12%     Undecided/Don’t Know

Another interesting result is the response to who should pay for the additional cost for electricity produced from sources such as wind and solar. Fifty-eight percent said shareholders of investor owned utilities should shoulder the financial burden. My guess is if shareholders rather than ratepayers had to pay for the cost of wind and solar, the enthusiasm for “green” would diminish substantially.

Earlier in the year, “legislation to freeze the state’s renewable energy mandate stalled in a House Committee, but a similar bill is currently moving through the Senate. “ This poll reveals the bill would be extremely well received by ratepayers.

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Must reads to celebrate Earth Day

April 22, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

Predictions from the first Earth Day in 1969, “Environmentalists’ Wild Predictions,” by Walter Williams:

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.” In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and “in the 1970s … hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich’s predictions about England were gloomier: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

It’s time for a separation of earth and state. The eco-left “Earth Day religion: Now there’s even a hymn to accompany the theology,” by Robert Knight in the Washington Times:

Earth Day is emblematic of the Earth religion, which has a decidedly strong sense of superiority of its vision. If you don’t believe it, here’s the first stanza of the “Earth Day Anthem,” set to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”:

Joyful, joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise

Now we must resolve to protect her

Show her our love throughout all time.

For contrast from the world of old-time religion, here’s the first stanza of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 and found in most hymnals:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;

Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

There’s a clear line between worshipping the Creator and mistakenly worshipping the creation, and it’s not a new error.

Meet a self-described “co-founder” of Earth Day, murder Ira Einhorn, a.k.a. the Unicorn. Reason’s Nick Gillespie offers a glimpse into:

a dark corner of the 1960s’ and ’70s’ countercultural carnival, one involving Philadelphia’s highest-profile hippie guru: Ira Einhorn, also known as “the Unicorn,” a preacher of love and flower power who was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1977 and stuffing her remains in a trunk that he kept in his apartment.

While Gillespie acknowledges that some claim “The Unicorn” had no formal connection with Earth Day, still he articulates the lunacy of radical eco-chic.

However spurious his Earth Day connection, his case is a must-read for anyone interested in the excesses of and bizarreness of the broadly construed hippie movement and the sorts of radical-chic enablers who help obvious sociopaths and psychopaths avoid the law.

NIMBY: From this blog, the Eco-left loves Big Wind and Big Solar but must hate chinese children:

Because the U.S. doesn’t mine much of these elements here, U.S. manufacturers look elsewhere. Sadly, individual tragedy in China’s “cancer villages” reveals the dirty secret of ‘clean energy.’

‘Yun Yaoshun’s two granddaughters died at the ages of 12 and 18, succumbing to kidney and stomach cancer even though these types of cancers rarely affect children. The World Health Organization has suggested that the high rate of such digestive cancers are due to the ingestion of polluted water.

The river where the children played stretches from the bottom of the Daboshan mine…Its waters are contaminated by cadmium, lead, indium and zinc and other metals.’

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War on Rural CO: Economic impact of SB 252

April 15, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

The impact of SB 252, a bill to raise the renewable mandate on rural electric cooperatives, will be devastating to rural Colorado according to Dr. Roger Bezdek, Founder and President of Management Information Services, Inc. Bezdek released a report titled “The Economic and Jobs Impact of the Proposed Colorado RES” that predicts that, if passed, SB 252 will raise significantly the state’s unemployment rate and electric rates, which directly contradicts what bill sponsors Senate President John Morse and Senator Gail Schwartz have been arguing.

According to Bezdek’s report:

  • At present, Colorado’s unemployment rate is below the U.S. average.
  • With the RES, the state’s unemployment rate would increase to about 15% above the U.S. average.
  • However, job losses resulting from the RES, would be largely concentrated in the predominately rural areas served by the electric coops – many of which are already suffering economically.
  • The unemployment rate in these areas would increase substantially and would be more than 1/3 higher than the state average and more than 50% higher than the national unemployment rate.
  • At present, Colorado’s average electric rate is below the U.S. average.
  • With the RES, the state’s overall average would increase to above the U.S. average.
  • However, with the RES, the average rate to the predominately rural customers served by the electric coops would increase significantly and would be about 14% higher than the national average.

Bezdek draws on 30 years of experience in “research and management in the energy, utility, environmental, and regulatory areas, serving in private industry, academia and the federal government” and provides a grim forecast for those co-op members living on a fixed income. They will see their residential rates go up $20 per month.

Sure seems like a war on rural Colorado.

Colorado RES Impacts 4-12-13 (1) by Amy Oliver

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Highlights and lowlights of SB252 testimony

April 9, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

Despite close to seven hours of testimony on SB13-252, a bill to raise the renewable energy mandate 150 percent on rural electric co-ops, it is very clear that the bill’s prime sponsors Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) do not understand their own bill and didn’t bother to consult those who can comprehend the complexity of this legislation.  It passed out of committee on a party line vote.

The bill was heard yesterday in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. Members include:

  • Senator Angela Giron, Chair, (D-Pueblo) and a bill sponsor
  • Senator Matt Jones, Vice-Chair, (D-Louisville) and a bill sponsor
  • Senator Ted Harvey, (R-Highlands Ranch)
  • Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster)
  • Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa)

What the sponsors say it will do:

  • Imposes a mandate on rural electric co-ops forcing them to get 25 percent of the electricity they supply to members from government-selected “renewable” sources, such as wind and solar by 2020.
  • Removes the in-state preference for the 1.25 kilowatt-hour multiplier.
  • Expands the “renewable” sources to include coal-mine methane and municipal waste.
  • Increases the retail rate impact from 1 to 2 percent, which Sen. Giron calls “acceptable.”

What the bill really will do:

  • Despite no projected fiscal impact to state government, it will cost co-op members anywhere from $2 billion to 4 billion, more than $8,000 per meter, including those in 10 of Colorado’s poorest counties.
  • Removes the in-state multiplier because current law is unconstitutional. The state is being sued over it and doesn’t want to lose, which would force the state to pay attorney’s fees.
  • Drive jobs out of the state because of high electricity costs.
  • “Blow up the electric co-operative business model.”
  • Likely force the state to spend taxpayer money defending this new law in court.
  • Devastate rural economies.
  • Drive up the cost of business for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers at the same time they are suffering through a devastating drought.
  • Force co-ops to try to comply with a law that well could be a “physical impossibility.”

General observations

  • So many people showed up to testify that the hearing had to moved to a larger room, and still an over-flow room was needed to accommodate the crowd
  • Neither Senator Morse nor Schwartz could answer basic questions about the rate cap and indicated the committee would hear from “experts” who could answer questions.
  • All three Moffat County Commissioners showed up to testify against the bill.
  • Tri-State Generation, wholesale power supplier owned by co-ops, and every electric co-op that testified stated they were not consulted at all regarding the bill despite their repeated attempts to engage with sponsors once they heard legislation would be coming.
  • Bi-partisan opposition
  • Partisan support
  • Senator Harvey was the best-prepared legislator.

Below are highlights and lowlights of SB252 testimony.

Forced to admit:

Senator Harvey asked Senator Morse if the electric cooperatives were ever consulted regarding SB 252. Morse couldn’t say, “yes,” so he answered with a long-winded “no.”

Former Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Chairman Ron Binz, who resigned under the cloud of an ethics complaint, acknowledged that Xcel Energy may well benefit by selling “renewable energy credits” (RECs) to Colorado’s rural co-ops in order for them to comply with this law.

Senator Ted Harvey asked several supporters of SB 252 if they would support the 150 percent mandate increase if they didn’t benefit directly from the bill. The answer: “No.”

Senator John Morse stated if the “market” wanted a renewable mandate we would have one. But since the market doesn’t, government must force it.

Supporter and former state representative Buffy McFadden, current Pueblo County Commissioner, said she wasn’t sure if renewable energy would “go to market” if government didn’t force it.

“Two percent rate cap” comes under fire:

Senator Harvey asked sponsors to explain the two percent rate cap. They couldn’t.

Under pressure from Senator Ted Harvey, PUC Executive Director Doug Dean struggled to explain the total cost of the Colorado’s renewable energy mandate and the two percent rate cap. Dean finally acknowledged that the two percent rate cap only applies to “incremental costs,” and followed up with “it’s pretty complicated.”

Binz perpetuates the 2 percent rate cap myth. Says in testimony, “as an officer of the state,” the PUC and Xcel do not mislead the public on the cost of renewable energy.

Four hours later, Independence Institute energy policy analyst William Yeatman directly addresses Binz’s misleading characterization of how Xcel recovers the total cost of the renewable energy mandate. Yeatman clarifies using real numbers: two percent of Xcel’s retail electric sales in 2012 was $53 million, which was captured in the Residential Electric Standard Adjustment (RESA). Another $291 million, not subject to the rate cap, was captured through the Electric Commodity Adjustment for a total of $343 million or 13 percent of retail sales.

Senator Harvey asked Yeatman to explain how the PUC allows this. Yeatman responded that the budgetary trick was likely the result of a dichotomy between PUC staff that acknowledges the public may be “laboring under the misapprehension of a two percent rate cap” and the Commissioners who allow it to occur.

Good points:

Rich Wilson, CEO of Southeast Colorado Power Association, to bill sponsors: “you just blew apart the non-profit electric cooperative model.”

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers pleads with the committee “don’t pass this bill.”

Kent Singer, Executive Director of Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA), to bill sponsors and supporters, “even after five hours of testimony, I don’t think you have a clear picture of how this [SB252] works.”

Singer continues, had sponsors come to us, we could have explained it, but they NEVER did.

Singer: two percent rate cap is far more complicated than Ron Binz would lead you to believe.

Dan Hodges, Executive Director of Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities, responding to inquires about why Senator Morse would exclude his own utility owned by the city of Colorado Springs:  the state constitution excludes municipal utilities from state regulation because they are owned by their citizens. “it’s unconstitutional” to draw municipals into this…”I don’t think it is appropriate for rural electric cooperatives to be drawn in either” because they are owned by their members.


Binz belittles non-profits cooperatives and their members: “Tri-State [Generation] doesn’t have the state’s interest in mind.” Tri-State is owned by electric cooperatives, which, in turn, are owned by members. Most of those members are rural Coloradans.

Senator Gail Schwartz said her neighbors in Aspen and Snowmass want more options for and access to renewables such as solar panels.  My question: Why don’t they just pay for it?

Justifiably irritated:

Dave Lock, Senior manager, government relations for Tri-State, addresses Binz, “you can be damn sure Tri-State cares about Colorado.”

Lock responding to Binz’s disbelief about Tri-State’s $2-4billion analysis. “We only had five days,” which included a weekend because we were never allowed at the table.


Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers, “I own a bar. I’d like to mandate that everyone drink 25 percent more.”

John Kinkaid of Moffat County “we aren’t contributing to your [Denver’s] brown cloud.”

War on Rural Colorado:

All three Moffat County Commissioners John Kinkaid, Tom Mathers, and Chuck Grobe echoed the theme that SB 252 is an assault on rural ratepayers and equivalent to “war on rural Colorado.”


Norma Lou Murr, a Walsenburg senior citizen on a fixed income, waited patiently for hours to testify. When her turn finally came, she asked the committee “to look very seriously” before raising her electric rates.

The way the state legislative Democrats are handling this legislation is similar to how they handled gun control – leave those most impacted out of the conversation and then completely ignore their concerns during testimony.

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Hypocrisy of SB 252

April 8, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

Sponsors excluded from cost of own bill:

Two of the main State Senate sponsors, Senate president John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Aspen) conveniently carved their own districts out of the bill.

Because municipally owned utilities are excluded from the bill, Morse won’t have to pay the cost of his own legislation.  While Schwartz evades the cost because Holy Cross, the co-operative that serves her district, doesn’t meet the bill’s 100,000-meter threshold.

If this government mandate is so good, then why don’t they include all of Colorado — including their own communities.

We care about the environment:

Expanding the definition of what is an eligible resource, including coal mine methane, is a good idea. However, including bio-waste while excluding hydroelectric makes no sense unless claiming it’s for the environment is just a verbal facade

If eco-left progressives really cared about carbon emissions, they would include hydroelectric in Colorado’s energy source mandate. As this blog mentioned just days ago, the EPA considers hydro a renewable resource and the Colorado Energy Office says emissions from hydro are on par with wind and solar. Furthermore, Colorado already gets significant power from hydroelectric:

Colorado has 1169 megawatts (MW) of existing hydroelectric capacity. Of that total, 82 percent is generated at facilities with a capacity over 30 MW—meaning it is not “renewable” unless the facility was built in the past eight years. Unfortunately, most facilities do not meet this requirement

According to the most recently released figures, renewables other than hydro produce 9.8 percent of the total net summer electricity capacity. If the total 1169 MW of existing hydro capacity were considered renewable, hydroelectricity would contribute another 8.5 percent of capacity. Instead, only 4.8 percent of hydroelectric power is considered renewable.

Two percent rate cap:

We’ve proved so many times that the two percent rate cap is a sham for Investor Owned Utilities (IOU), it’s amazing they keep advancing it. Sources from wholesale power supplier Tri-State Generation say this bill could cost anywhere from $2 to 4 billion for capital construction. That equates to $8,000 per meter. That will be a financial strain on the residents of the ten lowest income counties in Colorado that Tri-State covers.

Lastly, we’ve heard from other electric cooperative sources that they weren’t even included in crafting this bill. They simply will have to implement and pay for it.

UPDATE: Colorado’s electric cooperatives have confirmed that not one of them was consulted during the crafting of this bill, which will cost their consumers billions of dollars.

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Denver centric eco-left targets rural Colorado

April 7, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

Denver area eco-leftists have rural Colorado in their sights.

In a September 2012 letter to state legislative candidates, Colorado Environmental Coalition Executive Director Elise Jones (now Boulder County Commissioner) and Colorado Conservation Voters Executive Director Pete Maysmith implied that dirty air in the Denver metro area may be the result of rural Colorado’s not having a 30 percent renewable mandate:

While our largest utility has a 30% renewable energy target, most rural and municipal energy providers have only made a 10% commitment that is below the national average. Coal-fired power plants and vehicles are contributing to the smog and dirty air in the Denver metro area, and Coloradans statewide continue to be exposed to harmful mercury and other particulate emissions.

Just last week, eco-left progressives in the state legislature introduced SB13-252 to  require rural co-ops to comply with a 25 percent mandate by 2020, which is significantly higher than the 10 percent to which they have committed already. And today, Sunday, April 7th, I received this message from the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado, a Denver-based leftist environmental group:

Did you know that in rural Colorado only 10% of energy is generated by clean energy sources, while other major Colorado utilities are on pace to produce 30% of their electricity from renewable sources before 2020? With abundant wind, plenty of sunshine, and an environment worth protecting, it’s time to recharge renewable energy in Colorado.

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is urging the Colorado Legislature to pass Senate Bill 252, which will increase Colorado’s Rural Renewable Energy Standard to 25% by 2020 by large wholesale electric providers who sell to rural electric cooperatives.

It’s important to note that electric cooperatives are very different from investor owned utilities such as Colorado’s largest investor owned utility (IOU) Xcel Energy. In particular:

  • Co-ops are private, independent, non-profit electric utilities. While IOUs are for-profit
  • Co-ops are owned by the customers they serve. IOUs are owned by shareholders.
  • Co-ops are incorporated under the laws of the states in which they operate;
  • Co-ops are established to provide at‑cost electric service. IOUs provide electricity with a guaranteed profit margin.
  • Co-ops re governed by a board of directors elected from the membership which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the co-op’s management.
  • Co-ops serve an average of 7.4 consumers per mile of line and collect annual revenue of approximately $15,000 per mile of line. While IOUs average 34 customers per mile of line and collect $75,500 per mile.

This bill, if passed, will be wildly expensive for rural Colorado. Perhaps Denver’s eco-left doesn’t understand the cooperative business model, but what is worse is that this eco-left cabal seems to be ginning up outrage directed at rural Colorado.

Denver-based eco left targets rural Colorado

Denver-based eco left targets rural Colorado

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Oregon’s Cannibalism of Environmentalism

April 1, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

By Brandon Ratterman

Almost 60 percent of Oregon’s electricity is generated from hydroelectric power, which is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a renewable energy resource. However, the state is struggling to meet the mandated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 15 percent renewable generation by 2015, as hydroelectricity generated at facilities built before 1995 does not qualify as a renewable resource. Since most hydroelectric facilities were built before 1995, the state has been forced to use wind energy to fill this void. Unfortunately, wind energy in Oregon produces some counterproductive effects.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is one of the main providers of hydroelectric power in Oregon, but because their facilities do not contribute to the mandated renewable portfolio standards, they are forced to give wind producers access to their transmission lines. As a result, the amount of electricity that BPA can supply to the grid is reduced, and BPA is forced to spill excess water over their dams, resulting in increased turbulence and toxic levels of nitrogen.

Oregonians annually spend over half a billion dollars to protect the fish and wildlife, which are now threatened by these increased nitrogen levels. As a result, Oregon courts are requiring hydroelectric producers to remedy the situation, despite the fact that wind energy is the root cause of this issue. Organizations such as BPA are being forced to pay wind producers to power down during times of high runoff.  On average, this is estimated to cost Oregon ratepayers $12 million annually, with potential costs ranging up to $50 million. In return, Oregonians will receive the same electricity, derived from the same energy source, as they did in the past.

The fact that Oregon’s hydroelectric power does not count toward its renewable portfolio standards, even though the EPA recognizes it as a renewable source, proves that the concept of “green energy” is geared toward increased spending that makes electricity more expensive.  If lawmakers are committed to reducing emissions in an economically sustainable way, hydroelectricity needs to be recognized as a renewable resource.

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Instability of sustainability: green agenda ignores science and technology

March 31, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Legislation, New Energy Economy, renewable energy 

Could this happen in Colorado? Maybe…

A Wall Street Journal article reports what some in Colorado’s energy industry know, too much reliance on wind and solar can make an electric grid unstable and lead to power outages.

California regulators and energy companies met last week out of fear that the state’s electric grid is so unstable due to heavy dependence on wind and solar that rolling blackouts will begin as early as 2015. The WSJ reports:

Regulators and energy companies met Tuesday, hoping to hash out a solution to the peculiar stresses placed on the state’s network by sharp increases in wind and solar energy. Power production from renewable sources fluctuates wildly, depending on wind speeds and weather.

California has encouraged growth in solar and wind power to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. At the same time, the state is running low on conventional plants, such as those fueled by natural gas, that can adjust their output to keep the electric system stable. The amount of electricity being put on the grid must precisely match the amount being consumed or voltages sag, which could result in rolling blackouts.

At Tuesday’s meeting, experts cautioned that the state could begin seeing problems with reliability as soon as 2015.

California, which has a 33 percent renewable mandate, has plenty of power but…

Even though California has a lot of plants, it doesn’t have the right mix: Many of the solar and wind sources added in recent years have actually made the system more fragile, because they provide power intermittently.

This story should serve as a warning to all, such as Rep. Max Tyler (D-Lakewood) and former Governor Bill Ritter, who think that government mandating electricity generated from wind and solar is as simple as passing legislation while ignoring science and technology.

In a March 2010 press release Tyler bragged about his bill increasing Colorado’s renewable mandate to 30 percent:

The sun will always shine for free, the winds will always blow for free, and our energy production will be cleaner.  Renewable energy, green jobs, and a cleaner future — what’s not to like?

What’s not to like? How about an unstable grid that leads to blackouts. Get your generators now.

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David Schnare: We’re putting global warming on trial in Colorado

March 22, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Legal, New Energy Economy 

David Schnare, the Director of Environmental Law Center at the American Tradition Institute and lead attorney in a lawsuit (ATI v. Epel) against Colorado’s 30 percent renewable energy mandate said in an interview on the Amy Oliver Show on Thursday that global warming will be put on trial when he argues that the mandate violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Fresh off his court appearance in Denver on Tuesday, Schnare, explained that Colorado’s renewable energy mandate violates the commerce clause in two ways.

The first is what Schnare calls a “facial” violation. Colorado’s mandate provides preferences for electricity from renewable sources that originate in Colorado. It’s commonly called the multiplier. Every megawatt of electricity from a renewable source inside Colorado is counted as 1.25 megawatts. The same electricity from producers in other states enjoys no such preference. Since Colorado is part of multi-state grid, the multiplier is a significant and unfair advantage in favor of Colorado-produced electricity.

Schnare explained with this analogy, “7.5 apples in Colorado are not equal to 10 apples in another state.”

Apparently Attorney General John Suthers, whose office is charged with defending the mandate, knows that as well. Schnare said it was the AG’s office that tried to get legislation to repeal the multiplier passed at the end of the 2012 session because if the state loses then it has to pay all the attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the lawsuit.

While the bill SB12-178 died last year, Schnare believes a similar bill will pass this year, which brings us to the second violation that Schnare calls a “balancing test” question. Is the harm to interstate commerce greater than the local benefit? Schnare argues that the mandate does not provide any benefit. In fact just the opposite is true.

Under the mandate:

  • Electricity cost go up (we prove that here)
  • The environment is not improved
  • Water isn’t conserved
  • The grid is more unstable
  • Power generation is more insecure

Much of the renewable energy advocates’ argument in favor of the mandate is the necessity to minimize the negative impacts of man-made global warming. But Schnare suggests, that if global warming is real, then Colorado stands to benefit because it will get more rainfall.  So attempts to mitigate global warming will actually cause more harm than good.

Schnare will be back in district court in Denver on May 1, 2013, at which time he expects a timeline for discovery and a trial date, which is good news since this lawsuit was filed originally in April 2011.

Players in the case:

To read all documents related to the case, click here.

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