Energy, Utilities & Water  May 4, 2022

Net Zero Cities: Confronting climate crisis among top priorities

LOVELAND — Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday reiterated his commitment to a renewable-energy future for Colorado, highlighting the devastating effect of climate change and ambitious goals to address the climate crisis.

Polis spoke at Net Zero Cities, a BizWest event conducted at the Ranch events complex in Loveland.

Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis

“The state of Colorado really supports and applauds your deliberations, your conversations, your efforts, your vision for a net-zero economy,” Polis told the audience. “We see ourselves as a partner in helping you achieve that.

“Confronting the climate crisis is one of our top priorities,” Polis added, noting that two of Colorado’s largest industries — agriculture and skiing/outdoor recreation — are climate-dependent.

“This is more than just an environmental issue, more than just a quality-of-life issue,” Polis said. “It’s a bread-and-butter economic issue for the state of Colorado and our largest industries.”

Polis noted that dependence on fossil fuels places Colorado at risk by factors beyond the state’s control, such as the Texas energy crisis of early 2021, when blackouts occurred during cold weather, with Texas not having ensured an adequate supply of natural gas.

The crisis caused surges in natural-gas prices beyond Texas, including Colorado.

“Because of a circumstance totally beyond our control … there were distortions in natural-gas prices across the region,” Polis said, “and many of those had to be passed along to consumers in Colorado. That was a major price that we paid because of not having energy independence.”

Colorado has set ambitious goals for conversion to renewable sources of energy, including reaching 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

“We’re on the cutting edge in Colorado, of clean-energy policy, of achieving bold and ambitious goals,” Polis said.

Polis said the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040 is “more in sight than ever before, particularly as there are new innovations and reduced costs in storage and other ways to do the load balancing that’s needed from a lower-cost, renewable-energy grid.”

One way for Colorado to reduce carbon emissions is by adoption of electric vehicles, Polis said. Rapid adoption of electric vehicles has already begun, with 13% of vehicles sold in Colorado in March being EVs. Polis also issued an executive order in 2019 to boost the state’s EV industry, including addition of charging stations and electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet.

He expressed support for local initiatives to promote solar gardens, increase efficiency of buildings and reduce carbon emissions at industrial sites, as well as collaborative efforts with Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico on the Western Inter-States Hydrogen Hub, which seeks funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for development of regional hydrogen hubs.

“We can accelerate Colorado’s progress toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” Polis said, noting resources available at both the state and federal levels, including the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

LOVELAND — Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday reiterated his commitment to a renewable-energy future for Colorado, highlighting the devastating effect of climate change and ambitious goals to address the climate crisis.

Polis spoke at Net Zero Cities, a BizWest event conducted at the Ranch events complex in Loveland.

Gov. Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis

“The state of Colorado really supports and applauds your deliberations, your conversations, your efforts, your vision for a net-zero economy,” Polis told the audience. “We see ourselves as a partner in helping you achieve that.

“Confronting the climate crisis is one of…

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