FORT COLLINS — At a regional energy and climate forum co-hosted by the White House, Gov. Bill Ritter today encouraged the federal government to follow Colorado's New Energy Economy model when considering comprehensive national legislation.
"Colorado isn't just a mile high state – we're miles ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to creating a New Energy Economy," Gov. Ritter said during the forum, attended by hundreds of energy and climate stakeholders and business and civic leaders at Fossil Ridge High School.
"Over the past few years, we've established a clean-energy template that is creating thousands of new jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and generating innovative technologies for the future," Gov. Ritter said. "The New Energy Economy in Colorado can serve as a pathway for all of America that will lead to greater economic, energy and environmental security."
Gov. Ritter, U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley co-hosted the forum. Also taking part in panel discussions were Michael Chrisman from the California Department of Natural Resources, and Jay Manning from Washington's Department of Ecology.
Gov. Ritter called for a national energy and climate policy that will allow other states to duplicate and share in the successes that Colorado has enjoyed from the New Energy Economy.
"These are still very difficult economic times," Gov. Ritter said. "We are starting to see signs of stability, and we know that developing our clean-energy sector will be a key part of our recovery. One of the best things government can do to help grow the New Energy Economy on a national scale is to provide the private sector with a predictable regulatory environment. For businesses to attract venture capital, they need to have certainty of federal regulations and incentives."
Gov. Ritter cited the doubling of the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard within his first 100 days in office in 2007 as a key reason for Colorado's success. The RPS requires the state's major utility companies to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The Governor also issued Colorado's first climate action plan in late 2007, calling for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
"We recognized in Colorado the need for energy and climate policies because they directly impact our economy. Climate change directly affects our state's top industries, including tourism and agriculture. As a nation, we must increase the use of clean-burning natural gas, solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other clean-energy sources as we create a new energy future for every student at this forum and every child in Colorado."