LOVELAND — Gov. Wednesday’s statement by Jared Polis reiterated his commitment for a Colorado future that uses renewable energy. He also highlighted the dire consequences of climate change and the ambitious goals to address it.
Polis spoke at Net Zero Cities (a BizWest event held at Ranch Events Complex in Loveland)
“The state of Colorado really supports and applauds your deliberations, your conversations, your efforts, your vision for a net-zero economy,” Polis told the audience. “We see ourselves as a partner in helping you achieve that.
“Confronting the climate crisis is one of our top priorities,” Polis added, noting that two of Colorado’s largest industries — agriculture and skiing/outdoor recreation — are climate-dependent.
“This is more than just an environmental issue, more than just a quality-of-life issue,” Polis said. “It’s a bread-and-butter economic issue for the state of Colorado and our largest industries.”
Polis noted that dependence on fossil fuels places Colorado at risk by factors beyond the state’s control, such as the Texas energy crisis of early 2021, when blackouts occurred during cold weather, with Texas not having ensured an adequate supply of natural gas.
The crisis led to a spike in natural gas prices outside Texas, including Colorado.
“Because of a circumstance totally beyond our control … there were distortions in natural-gas prices across the region,” Polis said, “and many of those had to be passed along to consumers in Colorado. That was a major price that we paid because of not having energy independence.”
Colorado has ambitious goals to convert to renewable energy sources, including 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040.
“We’re on the cutting edge in Colorado, of clean-energy policy, of achieving bold and ambitious goals,” Polis said.
Polis said the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040 is “more in sight than ever before, particularly as there are new innovations and reduced costs in storage and other ways to do the load balancing that’s needed from a lower-cost, renewable-energy grid.”
Polis stated that Colorado can reduce carbon emissions by adopting electric vehicles. Rapid adoption of electric cars has already begun. In March, 13% of all Colorado vehicles were EVs. Polis also issued an executive order in 2019 to boost the state’s EV industry, including addition of charging stations and electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet.
He supported local initiatives that promote solar gardens, improve efficiency of buildings, reduce carbon emissions at industry sites, and collaborated with Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico to create the Western Inter-States Hydrogen Hub. The hub seeks funding through the U.S. Department of Energy.
“We can accelerate Colorado’s progress toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” Polis said, noting resources available at both the state and federal levels, including the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.