Colorado aims to slash its reliance on fossil fuels in the coming years and its top utility has promised to rely entirely on carbon-free sources within two decades. Those goals make it one of the nation's leaders on climate response. Members of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis traveled to Boulder for their first field hearing to learn about what clean energy lessons can be gleaned from the state.
“It’s really been a matter of working with the various utilities to accelerate retirement of costly coal assets to recognize savings for consumers sooner and environmental benefits sooner,” said Gov. Jared Polis, one of several Colorado panelists invited to talk in front of the Select Committee.
Polis ran on a platform of adopting 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Since elected, he’s signed legislative efforts from lawmakers and penned executive actions to force the state to use less fossil fuels. The top two on the list are a bill aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions statewide 90 percent by 2050 and an executive order to speed up adoption of electric vehicle use in the state.
House Select Committee members asked Polis about how the state is handling the transition to wind and solar in a cost-effective way, and how to prepare the grid for more renewable energy. Colorado Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse asked about the state's approach to a "just" transition away from coal and fossil fuels.
Many of the recommendations the committee received in Colorado will end up in a final climate plan forwarded to other committees in Congress in March 2020.