NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 11, 2004

Colorado voters recently passed Amendment 37, which requires energy companies that serve more than 40,000 customers to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydro.

The amendment raises energy prices, hurts the environment and costs jobs, according to James Taylor of the Heartland Institute:

  • The amendment will cost Colorado residents an additional $580 to $1.6 billion dollars per year.
  • A major factor is higher generating costs -- power from coal only costs 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to solar power, which costs 15 cents per kilowatt hour.
  • Meanwhile, wind farms -- another often-touted source of renewal energy -- have posed a threat to migratory birds; in fact, the Audobon Society has taken the position of opposing wind power.

Sixteen states have currently approved renewal energy measures through the legislative process:

  • Activists in California are supporting a proposed mandate to require the state to spend $1 billion on solar power subsidies.
  • Anti-fossil fuel advocates in Kansas are intensely lobbying state legislators to subsidize renewable energy or enact restrictive renewable energy mandates.

In other states, power companies have the unmandated option of providing renewable energy. Power companies in Arizona, New York and Massachusetts allow customers to pay for higher-priced renewable energy, although only a tiny percentage of people (one-half to one percent) have opted to do so, says Taylor.

Source: James M. Taylor, "Renewable Energy Mandates Raise Prices and Cost States Jobs," Environment & Climate News, October 2004, Heartland Institute.


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