The Clock Is Ticking On Climate Change, Which States In The Rocky Mountains Are Making Real Progress?

Efforts to address climate change are gaining momentum across the United States. However, environmental philosophies and policies vary dramatically from state to state.

The move from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to renewable energy (wind, solar, hydropower, etc.) has contributed to a decline in greenhouse emissions[1] in the United States over the last fifteen years.

Climate, renewable energy resource potential, and population are all factors that affect a state’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Comparing individual states in the same region proves insight into which states are making real progress at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Rocky Mountains, Colorado and Utah are areally large, sparsely populated states with similar climates and renewable energy potential. However, each state has very different perspectives on the importance of renewable energy.

Colorado has a Renewables Portfolio Standard[2] that utilities with over 500,000 customers sell 100% of their electricity from clean energy by 2050. In September 2021, electric utilities generated 30.6 % of the state’s electricity from renewable energy[3].

Coal, oil and natural gas have been an integral part of Colorado’s economy for over 100 years. In 2005, only 4.4 % of Colorado’s electricity was generated from renewable energy.

Over the last 15 years, Colorado has seen the development of major wind and solar projects. The state is now being transformed into one of America’s new, clean green energy hubs.

Utah has a Renewables Portfolio Goal[4] for electric utilities to generate 20% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy by 2025. In September 2021, electric utilities generated only 12.4 % of the state’s electricity from renewable energy[5].

In September 2021, 67.4 % of Utah’s electricity generation was fueled by coal. The cost to generate electricity from coal-fired power plants is over twice the cost of electricity ($/kWh) from wind or solar projects.

Utah’s utilities been slow to develop the state’s vast renewable energy resources. State legislators may be climate skeptics, but their inaction is costing consumers money and fueling climate change.

In 2020, United States electric utilities produced 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions[6]. Achieving a carbon-free power sector in the United States by 2035 will have a significant impact on the global reduction of greenhouse gases. It is time our country united behind programs to address climate change.

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States, The Hill. He has also been interviewed on over ninety radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] US Environmental Protection Agency, April 2021.

[2] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[3] US. Energy Information Administration, Colorado State Profile and Energy Estimates

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] US. Energy Information Administration, Utah State Profile and Energy Estimates

[6] U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Associated With Electricity Generation

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