Creating a Clean Energy Economy

America and Colorado need a comprehensive energy policy that establishes aggressive targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and includes responsible development of our traditional energy resources.  We need to efficiently utilize all of our energy sources if we ever want to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil. 

Wind, solar and hydroelectric power are abundant in Colorado.  We need a new approach to energy development that makes better use of these invaluable sources.  We should think big-- reform will be good for Colorado's economy and our environment.  I support a requirement that 25 percent of our electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2025.  Advancing new energy resources requires sustained private and public capital. That's why renewable energy tax credits should be extended.  Researchers and investors need economic certainty that can only be provided by extending these renewable credits into future years well in advance of their expiration, rather than waiting until the last minue as Congress has traditionally done.  I also support modernizing our system of transmission and storage.  We need a new energy grid that can support our needs.

Colorado, from our utilities and industry to our farmers, is leading the nation in development of the new energy economy.  We passed the nation's first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by ballot initiative, requiring energy producers to get 10% of their energy from renewable sources, and we have since increased that standard to require 30% by 2020.  We took on high standards for reducing carbon emissions.  And our investment in the new energy economy has paid off.   We have created thousands of new, highly specialized green energy and research and development jobs.  

I also support increased energy efficiency and conservation.  We should be getting the most energy for our dollar from our vehicles, homes and businesses.  I support President Obama's efforts to increase our vehicle fuel efficiency standards.  I also support the investment in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act meant to help families increase the energy efficiency of their homes.  Our manufacturers and builders should be incentivized to create better buildings and appliances.  Government must set a good example, by running its own buildings efficiently.  Washington should not ask the private sector to do more than government itself can commit to doing.

Continued use of traditional energy sources is also essential as we gradually decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  Colorado has oil reserves, abundant natural gas and coal that make us a substantial contributor to the traditional domestic energy supply.  I welcome the responsible development of Colorado's traditional energy sources, and support efforts to make those resources greener and cleaner to minimize the impact they have on the environment and ensure that they stay competitive in this changing economy.  Our addiction to foreign oil is a national security issue.  Our economy is dependent on oil from some of the most unfriendly and hostile governments in the world, and our country will not be secure until we have a stable and reliable national energy strategy that puts America back in charge of our own energy future.

America needs to be bold.  President Obama is leading the way.  He engaged stakeholders and achieved an agreement to make our cars more efficient.   More can be done to make transportation better for the environment.  We can make more efficient tires and support incentives for purchasing alternative fuel vehicles.  We can design smart urban transit.  On this issue too, Colorado is out in front.

Finally, we must educate children of all ages about personal responsibility as stewards of Colorado land and natural resources.  Even beyond K-12, Colorado is fortunate to have the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a research and development powerhouse that holds the key to our energy future.  We need to train mathematicians, scientists and engineers to be the best in the world.  Their minds, talents and training will keep NREL ahead of the national energy curve and drive Colorado's economy forward.  

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