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Colorado Governor positions on renewable energy

Exclusive By Dallas Kachan, Cleantech Group

Bill Ritter wants Colorado to become a greentech hub.

Not to be outdone by Arnold Schwarzenegger, newly elected Democratic Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado is following closely in California’s footsteps, outlining a bold renewable energy focus in his first State of the State Address.

Exclusive By Dallas Kachan, Cleantech Group

In the realm of renewable energy, clean technology and energy efficiency to reduce green house gasses, the Western U.S. states continue to push the public policy envelope with bold initiatives by Governors from both parties.

Governor Ritter, a former District Attorney for the City of Denver, highlighted his first priority in his State of the State speech as “…establishing Colorado as a national leader in renewable energy.”

Already leading the U.S. in the establishment of an 8 megawatt solar plant owned and operated by SunEdison, Colorado is also home of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Ritter pointed out. It also combines the natural resource base of wind for wind energy, agriculture for use in cellulosic bio-fuels, leading energy academic institutions such as the Colorado School of Mines, and, with 300 days of sunshine a year, solar.

In Governor Ritter’s speech, he laid out plans for infrastructure elements, including assisting in the building high voltage transmission lines to take advantage of wind power across Colorado’s Great Plains, leading by example in converting the state’s fleet vehicles to hybrid or flex-fuel and mandating energy efficiency compliance with new and renovated state buildings.

The Governor also asked the state legislature to double the mandated renewable portfolio standard to 20% by 2015. On the technology side, the Governor is planning on creating a Clean Energy Fund to “help with the technology transfer of research to the marketplace,” as well as increase the use and development of biofuels in Colorado.

The Governor wants all of these in full swing by the time Denver plays host to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Ritter is not the first U.S. politician to position himself on the axis of renewable energy - nor will he be the last.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland made renewable energy and energy efficiency a campaign promise, and it's now a centerpiece of his new administration. And last week at his inauguration, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger laid out an agenda calling for even broader sustainable energy and environmental infrastructure in his state in the coming years.

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