Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) signed the bill Monday at a Denver-based solar installation company.
Utilities must now get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The bill (House Bill 1001) increases that to 30 percent over the same time, a standard just below California's 33 percent requirement. Most other states with renewable energy standards are in the 20-percent range.
"This is a commitment to clean energy that is unparalleled in this country," said Ritter. "From the perspective of energy security, environmental security, and economic security, we should push the envelope on renewable energy."
The bill requires that 3 percent of a utility's power sales be spent on power from solar installations at homes and businesses. That's aimed at creating more business for the estimated 230 small solar installers in Colorado. Supporters say the measure will create thousands of jobs.
"Solar on rooftops is going to be really important and it's going to drive a lot of new business," said Rep. Max Tyler, who sponsored the measure. "It will create power plants all around the state where the fuel will be free."
Critics wondered about the practicality of the measure, saying California is struggling to meet its goals.
"There are real questions about whether or not we can meet a standard like 30 percent in the time frame that's laid out," said Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction). "The wind only blows and the sun only shines so much. It's an intermittent source."
Related Links: House Bill 1001
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)