Monday, February 19, 2007
Steamboat Springs A proposed law that would reimburse electric customers for renewable energy they produce is heating up faster than a solar panel on a sunny day.
House Bill 1169, sponsored by state Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton, and titled "Cooperative Assocation Net Metering," states that: "all cooperative electric associations shall allow a customer's retail electricity consumption to be offset by the electricity generated from : renewable energy resources on the customer's side of the meter, that are interconnected with the facilities of the (association)."
In other words, if you use solar panels or wind turbines and put energy into the grid, HB 1169 would allow you to reduce your electric bill according to the amount of energy produced.
The House Transportation and Energy Committee is scheduled to review the bill at the Capitol in Denver Tuesday morning. While committee review is an early step in the legislative process - if approved by committee, the bill still would have to clear the House, the Senate and the desk of Gov. Bill Ritter - electric associations and community groups are already speaking out about the renewable energy initiative.
"HB 1169 sets up a scheme that may result in well-funded wind and solar developers making profits at the expense of residential and agricultural consumers," reads a position statement by the Colorado Rural Electric Association, which has statewide membership that includes Northwest Colorado's Yampa Valley Electric Association.
YVEA officials could not be reached late last week.
Margaret Berglund, an organizer for the grassroots community organization Western Colorado Congress, said the bill would provide incentives for renewable energy development and use, especially in private residences.
"There's a lot of people in Routt County who would like to do this," Berglund said. "Ideally, if we get more people to do solar systems on their homes, then we would need fewer power plants."
Western Colorado Congress is planning a "citizen lobbying trip" to the Capitol next month, to promote issues including renewable energy development.
HB 1169 may soon receive widespread attention - Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to address Colorado Rural Electric Association officials this morning at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver.
On the 'Net
- Read the text of House Bill 1169, which would allow customers of cooperative electric associations to be reimbursed for renewable energy they produce, on the Web at www.leg.state.co.us/. Follow the "House Bills" link, and search by bill number.
- Read about the Colorado Rural Electric Association's opposition to the bill at www.coloradorea.org. Follow the "Legislative Alert" link.
- Contact the Western Colorado Congress, which is planning a public trip to the Capitol next month to lobby for renewable energy issues, at www.wccongress.org or 879-6252.
- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203
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