By Senator Mark Udall and Senator Michael Bennet
We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association and its members for continuing to keep our state at the forefront of developing the energy technologies of the future. Colorado’s clean technology companies strengthen our state and the nation by leveraging Colorado’s entrepreneurial spirit, abundant natural resources and world-class research community.
Unlike the gridlock we see in Washington, Coloradans have been working together to innovate and responsibly develop our natural resources. Our state has a successful track record for responsibly developing our abundant sources of both renewable and traditional sources of energy while also protecting the land, air and water that makes the West so special. We support this balanced plan to meeting our energy needs and think that Colorado’s innovative approach to energy security can serve as a model for the entire nation.
In the U.S. Senate we are working to create a national energy policy that ends our dependence on foreign oil and creates a stable business climate for consumers, businesses and investors. As a part of this strategy, we can no longer afford economic policies that set arbitrary timelines, which provide investors, consumers and businesses with uncertainty. A recent example was the extension last year of the wind Production Tax Credit. Although this was a big win for our renewable energy portfolio, Congress’s failure to heed our call to act sooner left investors and manufacturers alike in limbo, hurting Colorado businesses that support thousands of good paying jobs in our state and across the nation.
A long-term national energy policy would prevent the artificial economic cliffs that continue to set us back instead of propelling our economy forward. This is why we both support a 25 percent Federal Renewable Energy Standard by 2025. We have seen right here in Colorado how a robust Renewable Energy Standard can diversify our energy mix, create jobs and protect our environment.
A comprehensive national energy policy also needs to incorporate increased efficiency in the buildings in which we live and work. The easiest dollar to save is the one that is never spent to heat, cool or light our homes and businesses. As the nation’s largest owner of office space, the federal government must lead the way in building efficiency while incorporating the latest technologies — many of which are being developed right here in Colorado – to reduce our carbon footprint.
Lastly, we must continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This means we need to strongly support the next generation of biofuels and electric vehicles while promoting the use of cleaner burning domestic natural gas in the transportation sector. This will help to create new jobs here at home while ending the flow of money we send overseas to unstable foreign countries that do not have America’s best interests in mind.
Following this blueprint, we know that Colorado will continue to be the global leader in innovative energy solutions that are sustainable, secure and affordable.