AFP-CO Questions Governor’s Executive Order On Clean Energy

Jul 12, 2017 by AFP

(DENVER) – Yesterday, Governor Hickenlooper released an executive order related to climate change entitled, “Supporting Colorado’s Clean Energy Transition.” It includes CO2 emissions reduction goals for the entire state and for the electricity sector specifically.  It also sets a goal of reducing total electricity sales by 2% by 2020. The executive order also asks state agencies to work with utilities on a voluntary basis, while maintaining reliability, and without increasing costs to customers.

AFP Colorado State Director, Jesse Mallory, reacts by asserting that, “Since Governor Hickenlooper’s climate change related executive order doesn’t change policy, and just gives his thoughts on what should happen in the energy sector related to CO2 emissions, maybe he should have packaged it as a guest editorial instead.”

Mallory continues, “The Governor says Colorado can reduce emissions and then mandates that it happen without raising prices or affecting reliability. That’s like pledging to lose weight, but continuing to eat the same amount of food and not exercising more. Hickenlooper seems to be sheepishly trying to order the results that he wants without any negative impacts. The problem is, that’s not how policy works in the real world.”

The specific CO2 reduction amount cited in Hickenlooper’s executive order mirrors what Colorado would have been required to do under the Clean Power Plan. Under the CPP, Colorado’s electricity sector would have had to reduce emissions 38% by 2030 from 2012 levels. In the draft version of the CPP, the requirement was a 35% reduction by 2030. The Governor is suggesting compliance with this earlier version of the CPP at 35%, which we know would result in an increase in cost to ratepayers. NERA Economic Consulting projected that the Clean Power Plan could cause a 13% to 31% increase in average retail electricity prices for Colorado consumers, with peak year increases ranging from 21% to 37%.