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Cyan
From Project Vote Smart"

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Proposed Amendment (37) - An amendment to the Colorado revised statutes concerning renewable energy standards for large providers of retail electric service, and, in connection there with, defining eligible renewable energy resources to include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydroelectricity, and hydrogen fuel cells; requiring that a percentage of retail electricity sales be derived from renewable sources, beginning with 3% in the year 2007 and increasing to 10% by 2015; requiring utilities to offer customers a rebate of $2.00 per watt and other incentives for solar electric generation; providing incentives for utilities to invest in renewable energy resources that provide net economic benefits to customers; limiting the retail rate impact of renewable energy resources to 50 cents per month for residential customers; requiring public utilities commission rules to establish major aspects of the measure; prohibiting utilities from using condemnation or eminent domain to acquire land for generating facilities used to meet the standards; requiring utilities with requirements contracts to address shortfalls from the standards; and specifying election procedures by which the customers of a utility may opt out of the requirements of this amendment.


For more detailed information, you can refer to Colorado's Blue Book which is in PDF format.

The questions for debate:

How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?

If you feel that it is important, what is the best way to transition with the least amount of negative impact?

If this measure were on the ballot in your state, would you vote for or against?
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Cube Jockey
How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?
I believe it is extremely important, and probably one of the most important things we need to devote our time and energy to domestically.

Oil hit a record high of $55.17 today and I'm sure it won't be too much longer until that is passed on to the price of gas and other consumer products. Global Warming is getting increasingly bad, and no one is offering any real solutions.

I look at it this way, the price of gas in the UK and Europe is roughly $7 to $8 / gallon right now. If we woke up tomorrow and it cost $7 a gallon to fill up at the pump, can you imagine the downward spiral that would launch our economy into? We simply cannot afford not to invest in renewable energy sources.

If you feel that it is important, what is the best way to transition with the least amount of negative impact?
I think there are changes that need to come from at least three levels: the consumer, corporations and the government.

I believe that the government needs to start taking very serious steps to pass strict environmental laws and standards which are strict and increase over a period of years. At the same time they need to provide large tax breaks to companies/people which invest their money in renewable energy sources. I'm not talking about giving someone a $300 tax credit for buying a hybrid car, I am talking significant as in several thousand dollars for individuals and 10's of thousands of dollars for corporations. Retail and Industrial businesses that use power from renewable sources should be getting huge tax breaks.

As far as corporations go, we need some of these large companies to start innovating a little bit and thinking big. Electric companies and car companies need to start working on the solutions for the next century and then need to start agressively pursuing it right now.

Consumers also play a huge part in this and it mostly has to do with attitudes and purchasing habits. People need to stand up and start telling corporations that it is no longer acceptable for them to offer only one hybrid car that isn't all that attractive to drive, vehicles which get 15mpg are not acceptable, and paying a premium for green power is also not acceptable. The power of the consumer is king, people just usually don't realize that.

If this measure were on the ballot in your state, would you vote for or against?
Yes I would, but I think California already has made some progress in this area, but I'm not exactly sure if this bill does more or less than we are doing right now.
Victoria Silverwolf
I think that the future of energy production and consumption is an extremely important issue. It's also an extraordinarily difficult problem in a free, wealthy society. How do we get people to stop wasting energy without restricting their freedom excessively? How do we get energy providers to move into renewable resources without choking off productivity? A very delicate balance is required.

I would prefer to go with the carrot rather than the stick. As has been suggested, give tax breaks to consumers who use renewable resources and to companies that provide them. Offer a big government contract to the first automobile company to come up with a really effective vehicle with zero emissions. (While I'm building castles in the air, let's offer a big prize for development of practical nuclear fusion.)

I tried to read my way through the typically obscure legal language of this proposal, and I'm leaning to a Yes vote, with some mixed feelings. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to specify exactly how much of the energy has to be from solar devices at the place of consumption, for example. However, I note that there is a way for power providers to opt out of this program by having their customers vote to do so, so it's not as restrictive as it might seem.

For the record, where we live customers can opt to pay an extra fee to the energy provider to promote "Green Power" of this type. This seems like a good way to encourage those who are in favor of such prgrams to support them directly.
AuthorMusician
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How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?


Very much so. The transition will help with creating world peace and ensuring a future for future generations, blah blah blah.

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If you feel that it is important, what is the best way to transition with the least amount of negative impact?


Wish I knew the answer to that. I'd be rich. My own preference is to become my own power company, off the grid completely. It's too expensive to do that right now. It's too expensive for the power companies to do alternatives, as long as fossil and fission sources remain cheap.

I know that the true expenses of present power sources are hidden. Taxes support much of the cleanup from fission, for example.

If I were king, I'd mandate drilling holes to boil water geothermically and run generation turbines off of that. We're darn good at drilling. We've got lots of land and water, what with several major drainage rivers, a couple of coasts, Great Lakes . . . if I were king.

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If this measure were on the ballot in your state, would you vote for or against?


Voted against it. What, give the utilities another excuse to raise the rates? I keep getting these surprise energy utility bills demanding more money for past months of service.

Don't think this one will pass. It seems too strange and too risky, an appeal to your ecological side for cleaner energy, yet tying the energy suppy side down. That equates to higher rates no matter what, and who knows where the juice comes from? I just don't want to give Aquila or whomever more excuses to raise the rates.

Hey, the rates have to be raised because YOU VOTED FOR IT!

Nope. Try again.
Cyan
How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?

I concur with the other responses presented within this thread. I believe that transitioning to renewable energy sources is extremely important, particularly in regards to our international affairs and the effect that certain players within the global economy will have on oil prices. A good example is China.

If you feel that it is important, what is the best way to transition with the least amount of negative impact?

I have no ideas on this, which is why I started this thread. I was hoping it would help me to find clarity, and it has to some degree. My feeling initially was that this amendment comes at an extremely inopertune time. The economy is still recovering in Colorado, and this amendment will likely cause utility bills to go up, which in turn, will cause the cost of everything else to go up.

I found it interesting that the amendment puts a limit on how much residential utility bills can go up per month, but it doesn't address commercial utility bills. That's just a bit dishonest in my opinion, because it's meant to make residential consumers feel more comfortable with the proposal. The problem is that if commercial utility bills rise, residential consumers will feel the hit elsewhere. It just won't be on their utility bills.

If this measure were on the ballot in your state, would you vote for or against?

I participated in Colorado's early voting program, and I did finally decide to vote in favour of this proposal. I just can't imagine that there will ever be a truly good time to transition to renewable energy sources, but it's necessary. It's going to cost money, but will it cost more money now or later?
Bikerdad
How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?
Recognizing the fact that no energy source is renewable, I will agree that it is important to transition to energy sources that have far slower depletion rates.

If you feel that it is important, what is the best way to transition with the least amount of negative impact? Modern nuclear power.


If this measure were on the ballot in your state, would you vote for or against?
I would vote against it. It makes no provision for nuclear power, which is the only "alternative" energy source that can meet the demands of our economy. It places artificial burdens upon the private markets. In short, it is founded upon bad science (the fallacious notion that wind, solar, etc can meet our energy needs), bad economics, and bad political philosophy.

Right goal, wrong methodology
sptyte
It is very important to transition to a new energy source.
1. The United States needs to have an energy source that is renewable.
2. The United States needs to break away from using other countries oil.
3. A new energy source has to be envronmentally friendly.
4. The oil is not going to last forever.

The only problem I can see with transitioning to a new energy source is going from oil powered to another source. Not everyone will transition right away, so that means two forms at the same time.

A good source might be hydrogen powered.
Bill55AZ
On the one hand, legislating things like this is almost as silly as trying to legislate morality. On the other hand, the government forced the auto makers to clean up exhausts and after a few fits and starts, they figured it out. Unleaded gas, better engine design, and computer controlled fuel injection has substantially increased horsepower and reduced emissions, but the gain in fuel economy is somewhat less impressive. It can be done with the power companies, but since it took about 15 years for Detroit to partially figure out their relatively small problem, plan on a lot more time before we solve the power plant issues. BTW, I favor Nuclear Power.
Renewables have existed for years, you can burn trash to get electricity if you want, and we all know that we have a lot of trash. Problem is, again, emissions.
Brazil uses a lot of alcohol and they have the ideal climate for it. Lots of rain, mild climate, thus more green stuff than you could ever need to distill into fuel grade alcohol. I suppose parts of our country are suitable for that kind of thing.
New energy sources are still a long way off. The ONE and ONLY thing we can do immediately is to conserve the energy we have by using less of it.
Turn off your lights, dry your clothes outside, plan your trips for the week so you can get all your errands run on one day, and adjust the thermostat down in the winter and wear a sweater. I am still waiting for the larger construction companies to offer a truly energy efficient home. Their current methods, with help and advice from electric utility companies, only goes a short way down the road we need to travel.
Of course, most of the above dictates life style changes that Americans may be unwilling to accept.
astronerd
Before you guys/gals make any rash decisions, may I suggest a book to read...

The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth od Fossil Fuels
by (the recently deceased) Thomas Gold
ISBN 0-387-95253-5

The author, a renowned astrophysicist, has some intriguing ideas on the origins of oil and gas and how long it will last.
TedClayton
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How important is it to transition to renewable energy sources?

This proposed Colorado Amendment addresses retail/consumer electrical power. The energy picture as a whole consists of various sources and dispositions of energy, but electrical power is a specialized product, and is locked into vested infrastructure and its requirements.

On the Kaibab Plateau there is a large coal-fired generator. It will be largely unaffected by petroleum supply problems. In the Pacific Northwest, electricity is generated substantially by hydroelectric dams on the Columbia river. The Tennessee Valley Authority is hydro. Quebec has built a massive hydro project - mainly for export to the USA!

All of those are already 'transitioned' - they are optimized as they stand. In cases that use oil or gas to drive electric generators, those facilities will either have to be subsidized when operating costs become extreme, or shut down when their required fuel is no longer reliably available. They can't be switched to other fuels - they would have to be replaced, usually with coal.

Because the focus is consumer electrical service, it is both fair & effective to look at ways the individual consumer can improve her own electrical situation. Commonly, electrical energy is used to do things that can actually be accomplished without electricity. For Susie Doe to heat water and dry clothes using means other than electricity will not save the electrical system - but it can save Susie.

That's the available "transition" choice - local. Is it important? Only if there is a crisis.

Given an appropriate stimulus, such as a few evenings in the dark, it is likely that an amazing resourcefulness will be seen in many households. The utility industry is probably too fossilized, but people are flexible and resilient.
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nileriver
As far as i know, if you are a living thing you require energy. maybe you are some form of life that feeds on hydrogen particles, of course humans, whom also are alive require energy. Humans can use a lot of energy, some for direct needs, as to keep tissue alive, in terms of food or an overall adequate environment to live in. America as a nation has the highest terms of energy consumption of any nation. As for how we developed ways to survive or watch television, make fragrance or beauty products to having the internet or a good cheeseburger, it all requires energy. to get back to my position, the ways to go about all of this is not environmentally sound, this becomes very evident to me as time goes on and human population growth continues.

You can find a plethora of problems that can stem from energy use, such as other nations wanting energy from limited resources, the damage current energy production inflicts on the environment overall, not just any specific ecosystem, and it destroys ecology that we need in order to stay alive, save you fancy those movies in which humans live underground or something in controlled environments, also other living things kind of need to ecology, environment and ecosystems to stay healthy for their benefit of course.

Foreign oil seems to be heavy on the political scheme of things, i doubt though the rush by government of big business to rush towards alternatives like hydrogen fuel and so on, and even in hydrogen fuel you can find negative impacts on the environment. Overall to "think green" in not common, and for the most part understanding of the environment is not common, i dont think this is a good thing. I watched as the environment of course went away from being anything important in politics, and i was sick to see kerry in his little photo op hunting, what a waste it really was. Anyways, i can keep my hopes that positive green things will happen and happen more often, save the environment becomes something important when it starts to become to late.

If this was on my state ballot, of course i would vote for it, being it is a transition to greener methods of energy production and consumption. This can lead to more advances in these areas and get it to be more of a norm in terms of the society or perception of such. I overall feel the best way to get from point A of environmental destruction to point B of environmental care is to not only use the government, but to make such thought mandatory in public education. I think if you can get people overall to care, that it would be the ultimate thing in terms of getting green, rather then making earth something more like venus.
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