Report: Colorado’s progress on clean-energy transition promising but uneven

By: - October 27, 2020 2:33 pm

Colorado has reduced emissions in the electricity sector largely by shifting away from coal-fired generation towards renewables like wind and solar. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado has made significant progress towards clean energy over the last 10 years, environmental advocates found in a report released Tuesday. But while its adoption of clean-energy technologies ranks in the top half of U.S. states across multiple categories, progress has come faster in some sectors than others.

The report by Environment America’s Research and Policy Center, “Renewables on the Rise,” rates Colorado highly when it comes to new renewable electricity generation — especially in the wind-power sector, where the 7.4 gigawatt hours of generating capacity that the state has added since 2010 ranks seventh in the country.

In other categories, the report’s findings were less flattering. Colorado has been slower than many of its peer states in adding utility-scale battery storage, a key component of the transition to a 100% renewable electric grid. And despite growing interest in electric vehicles, it didn’t rank among the top 10 states in cumulative EV sales since 2010.

“The gains we’ve seen, especially in wind power and solar power, should give Coloradans the confidence we need to aim even higher,” Hannah Collazo, Environment Colorado’s state director, said in a statement. “We need to pick up the pace when it comes to battery storage and electric vehicle sales. … Quickly adopting renewable energy technologies to power our state is one way to address the wildfires ravaging Colorado.”

“Some of these we need to pick up the pace on,” State Rep. Chris Kennedy, a Democrat from Lakewood, said of the report’s findings in a Tuesday press call. With Democrats at the state Capitol hoping to carry their legislative majorities into the 2021 session, he identified progress on clean buildings and energy efficiency policies as top priorities.

“We’re making good progress in a lot of places, but this is not a time to relax,” Kennedy added. “We have a lot of work to do, and while Colorado may be one of the leading states in a lot of ways in the country, we can do a lot more.”

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Chase Woodruff is a senior reporter for Colorado Newsline. His beats include the environment, money in politics, and the economy.