Colorado is reaching a bit of an odd moment in the short history of renewable energy in this county. In 2004, Colorado voters decided to create a sustainable energy requirement for the state. It’s been wildly successful, so much so that the state has about reached it. And now there’s very little incentive for the energy companies to continue investing in renewables. Without the state mandate, progress is beginning to stall out.
While the clear answer to me is for Colorado voters to raise the bar, this gets at larger problems with the American grid. The decentralized nature of American energy allows for local decisions, which can be positive but can also lead to inertia. A federal initiative to improve renewable energy sources in the states could have great impact, but of course won’t happen in today’s climate. At the very least, we must have the extension of government subsidies for wind and solar energy, both of which are scheduled to expire by next year.
A state like Colorado is both windy and sunny and there’s no good reason it can’t be producing a huge chunk of its energy from renewable sources. With the cost of renewable energy declining, consumer demand might do a good bit to promote its continued expansion, but this is one area where government can make a huge difference in people’s lives and in the environment.