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Hickenlooper's take on Colorado's energy future

Posted by Kelly Maher on September 7th, 2010
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Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, running for governor of Colorado, took his Checker Marathon to the Golden Super Cruise over the weekend and laid out his energy vision for the state.

“So what we’re working on, the trunk is large enough, that we’re going to put in compressed natural gas,” he said. “It’s going to be our transition vehicle to the energy future of Colorado.”

He went on…

“I do like the notion of compressed natural gas because Colorado has the opportunity to be, really, the national leader in the use of natural gas. We’re going to convert a couple of our coal plants, making electricity, into natural gas. They’ll be cleaner, more efficient. We’re also looking at ways we can put - along I-70 and I-25 - compressed natural gas stations so that fleets of trucks, tractor-trailers, FedEx trucks, can all convert their fleets to compressed natural gas and know they’ll be able to get a, you know, to fill up when they need it.”

And what’s the effect of all that?

“And those are the kind of things, oh, and making sure that you insulate your buildings, making sure you have fuel-efficient vehicles. That’s how you begin to fight this battle against a) keeping your air cleaner b) sending less money to foreign dictatorships when you import ../../../2010/09/hickenloopers-take-on-colorados-energy-future/all_this_oil_and_c.css) in terms of climate change, as we know more about climate change, using less energy, it’s just like buying insurance for your house. We’re making sure that we are lowering the risk that changes in climate will have a negative impact. “

The questions that need to be asked (and Hickenlooper needs to be answering) are how those outcomes (plant conversions, compressed natural-gas stations) would be achieved. Will the market drive those solutions? Or would it be by policy if Hickenlooper becomes governor? Or some combination?

Hickenlooper has previously spoken of combating climate change with “insurance.”

“I’m saying that clearly the climate is changing, clearly mankind’s activities are causing it,” he said at the Colorado Environmental Coalition gala in May 2009. “And that we’d be insane not to be spending tens…tens and tens of billions of dollars every year buying insurance to begin to prevent and stop that change that’s happening.”

I’m not clear if the “tens and tens of billions of dollars” refers to energy technology investments, government incentives or some other spending. Will Hickenlooper clarify that statement before the election Nov. 2?

When energy and environmental policy decisions are made in Colorado, a clear-eyed cost/benefit analysis should take priority. The Denver Post’s Vincent Carroll wrote a great piece about the cost overruns of Xcel’s SmartGridCity project in Boulder and whether the ratepayers will be on the hook.

Converting coal plants to natural gas (which Hickenlooper lauded in the video) is raising real concern on the Western Slope about potential job losses.

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  • Post by Kelly Maher on September 7th, 2010

One Response to “Hickenlooper's take on Colorado's energy future”

  1. [...] Tancredo opened up by touching on why he made the tough decision to get into the race and why Mayor Hickenlooper must be defeated in November. Most of his stump speech was about his plan to revive Colorado’s [...]

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