Quick Take: In a dramatic reversal of fortune for clean energy, utilities and state utility regulatory bodies have decided to remove barriers for wind and solar development while phasing out coal power.
April 1, 2016 – For Immediate Release
Steven Winter, Clean Energy Action, 720-449-6763
Coal Swept Away in Winds of Change
In a dramatic reversal of fortune for clean energy, utilities and state utility regulatory bodies have decided to remove barriers for wind and solar development while phasing out coal power.
Across the West, major utilities are joining together in a pledge to phase out coal power plants by 2020. At a special meeting of the board of Colorado’s largest utility, resolutions were adopted to sign onto the pledge and invest in gigawatts of new wind and solar, with explicit commitments to share the solar market with independent installers.
“We’re not going to put good money after bad. Coal mines are playing out as company after company files for bankruptcy – the days of coal that can be mined at a profit are over,” said the president of the board of directors. “We’re proud of the great success we’ve had with investments in wind and solar – lowering emissions, saving ratepayers on their bills, and creating jobs.”
“Colorado has tremendous potential for new renewable energy so why be involved with dirty energy?” he continued. “Everyone’s got to do their part if we’re going to meet the Paris commitments. For us that means many gigawatts of new wind and solar – one gigawatt is certainly not enough. Besides, we can’t remain stuck behind Oklahoma in wind energy development and New Jersey in solar!”
Solar Spring Takes the West
While utilities pledged to take action, regulatory commissions in Western states moved to strike down net metering challenges as unfair, signaling their long-term support of the independent rooftop solar industry. Here in Colorado, caps on solar gardens will be removed as regulators reversed course, doing away with negative renewable energy credit pricing.
Southwestern states have retracted costly demand charges that have hindered solar installations in recognition of the benefits of deferred infrastructure investments and free fuel from the sun.
“When you take a hard look at the numbers, it’s clear that solar provides net benefits to both our climate and our ratepayers,” said one regulator. “With batteries and electric vehicles, a completely renewable electric grid is well within our reach.”
We are sorry to do this, but we must remind readers of the date stamp on this press release. Please stay tuned as we expect life to soon begin mimicking “art”!