Our guest blogger is Michael Bowman, a fifth-generation Coloradoan and farmer from Wray. He serves on the National Steering Committee for the national agriculture energy working group 25x’25 and served as chair of Colorado’s New Energy Future in 2006.
Colorado is emerging as an international player in the next great technological and industrial revolution. The impending state renewables bill — 30 percent renewables by 2020 — is aggressive, job-creating, and could result in as many as 100,000 homes being equipped with solar panels, small wind turbines, or other clean energy sources. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. According to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, “America has the opportunity to lead the world in a new industrial revolution.”
Promoting Colorado’s renewable energy industry is key to our success.
A recent study released by the Center for American Progress suggests that the U.S. “has an urgent economic imperative to be a clean energy leader” and Colorado has the opportunity to be the national leader that propels us in this international clean energy race. As noted by U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), the state’s efforts to increase the use of renewable energy has already created 20,000 jobs. The economic benefits of the renewables bill that’s currently moving through the Colorado legislature, combined with its clear advantages for the environment and for strengthening national security, have made it a bipartisan effort.
Coloradans understand the need to seize this opportunity to push the country forward, and to make sure we do it right from the start. Interior Secretary and native Coloradoan Ken Salazar has taken this to heart. Instead of letting proposed projects languish in red tape, Secretary Salazar has directed the Bureau of Land Management to fast track proposals for more than 30 renewable energy projects across the West. While he’s clearly interested in moving ahead, he has also been a long-time advocate of balanced policy – he knows that while it’s important to move quickly to develop renewable energy, we need to consider potential environmental impacts from the start. As he’s said, “In harnessing renewable resources we act as stewards of our lands — like farmers who harvest abundant supplies but protect the resources that will sustain us for generations.” A responsible, common-sense approach to energy development like this will keep renewable energy projects moving forward across the country.
The clean energy frontier is right here in Colorado, which means only good things for our economy, environment, and communities. It’s rare to find a solution to energy problems that has support from farmers and ranchers, hunters and anglers, labor unions, conservation groups, and industry, but here in Colorado, we’re working together to lead the way.