COLORADO

COLORADO

COLORADO

Colorado, like most other states, is getting hotter and dryer. In May, 2021, NOAA released new data, showing Colorado Springs and Denver with the greatest increases.

In 2019, Governor Jared Polis began creating plans for Colorado to wean itself off fossil-fuel energy use, replacing it with renewable sources, and drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the coming years. In May of that year, Polis signed into law the Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution. That and the “Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap” (CGGPRR), also issued by the governor, set goals of reducing emissions from 2005 levels by at least 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. “This is our plan for creating a pathway to 100 percent renewable energy in our state, creating good green jobs that can never be outsourced, and saving people money on electricity,” Governor Jared Polis said in a press release from 2019. “The roadmap is not just about a vision, but includes concrete steps that will help us reap the economic benefits of renewable energy, curb pollution of our air, and fight climate change.”

According to the EIA, by 2020 Colorado’s net generation from coal-fired power plants was already 36%, down from 68%  in 2010. During the same period, Colorado became the 7th natural gas-producing state but also tripled its renewables –led by wind and solar– accounting for 30% of the state’s total generation.

Polis’ legislation  demonstrates its particular concerns with air pollution and health by addressing transportation and buildings — the biggest consumer sectors in Colorado accounting for 29.3 % and 27.6 % of the state’s energy consumption respectively.–a direction bolstered by a sense that the state’s power sector is already headed in the right direction.

By June, 2021, Governor Polis had also signed a bipartisan Energy Transition bill into law that will provide $15 million to help workers and localities dependent on coal transition to a clean energy economy. The money will fund the Office of Just Transition, which was created in 2019 to aid workers and communities dependent on coal as utilities in the state shift toward clean energy.

Colorado utilities are cutting their use of coal, in part due to the legislation requiring the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but also because of the falling cost of wind and solar. “The key to a truly just transition unlocks new opportunities in more places than ever before — not only to provide jobs, but to support schools, and improve systems that are critical to powering our communities,” Polis said at the bill’s signing. In 2021, NPR’s Steve Inskeep covered a story of a closing coal plant transitioning to a new “kind of renewable energy storage.” It would reuse the steam turbine, the transmission facilities and add a massive tank of salt. When melted, the salt would create steam to run the turbine and generate electricity. Thus, creating power when the grid needed it.

Colorado State University-Pueblo became the first campus in the state to reach net-zero efficiency last week when the school switched on its 23-acre solar array project.

Colorado is one of twenty four states, plus Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors, created in 2017, committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Boulder’s Namaste Solar gives gift of sunshine to families in need

01/10/22
Over the holiday season, a Boulder renewable energy company joined with a major nonprofit organization to give 176 Colorado families the gift of sunshine — and help with keeping their lights on in the face…

Less funding for road expansion, billions for greener transportation projects possible with CDOT rule change

12/16/21
The Colorado Transportation Commission on Thursday approved a new rule that could divert billions of dollars to clean transportation projects in the coming decades. The rule will require the state Department of Transportation and the…
npr

A Colorado Coal Plant Could Help Solve Renewable Energy’s Storage Problem

09/22/21
As coal plants shut down, many places face the loss of jobs and taxes. But in Colorado, one town hopes to transform a coal plant into a new kind of renewable energy storage.

Colorado uranium miner launches US’s only rare earths processing hub

09/20/21
Rare earths are in advanced electronics and renewable energy systems but there's no U.S. supply, creating a big opportunity for one of the nation's poorest areas, CEO says.

Colorado looks to be ahead of Biden’s called-for pace on renewable energy

09/14/21
Colorado is ahead of several states and the U.S. when it comes to renewable energy sources, with about two-thirds predicted to come from wind and solar by 2030. Energy experts say the speed at which…

Progress on the roadmap

09/02/21
Colorado has a goal to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040—how far along the path are we, and is it still achievable?

Invenergy, Guzman Energy Partner on Colorado Solar Project

08/31/21
Invenergy and Guzman Energy, a Colorado-based wholesale power provider, have signed a 127 MW power purchase agreement for the Boutique Solar project, which is currently in development in Montezuma County, Colo.

Sen. John Hickenlooper: Renewable energy crucial to rural economic stability

08/31/21
Renewable energy sources will be crucial to the economic stability of rural Colorado, especially on the eastern Plains.

CSU-Pueblo first university in Colorado to reach net-zero efficiency

08/25/21
Colorado State University-Pueblo became the first campus in the state to reach net-zero efficiency last week when the school switched on its 23-acre solar array project.

Preparing for Climate Change in Colorado

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Colorado is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Colorado Climate Plan 2018 Update – State Level Policies and Strategies to Mitigate and Adapt

07/29/19
Colorado published its first Climate Plan in 2007, and advanced the plan with State Level Policies and Strategies to Mitigate and Adapt in 2015. This version, updated in 2018, incorporates additional commitments to climate action, as laid…

Bill HB19-126: Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution

05/31/19
Concerning the reduction of greenhouse gas pollution, and, in connection therewith, establishing statewide greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals and making an appropriation.

City of Fort Collins Climate Action Plan

04/02/19
The goal of this document is to set clear and specific emission reduction goals for the State of Colorado, to identify opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote state policy recommendations and actions…

Denver 80×50 Climate Action Plan

03/22/19
Denver will aim to meet the following sector specific goals necessary to achieve the 80x50 Climate Goal. These goals were created to ensure there is a clear glide path to 2050 and a strong emphasis…

Boulder’s Climate Commitment

03/22/19
Boulder's Climate Commitment is the official climate strategy framework for the city organization. It provides a vision for Boulder's future, sets goals and targets related to emissions reduction and sustainability and provides initial pathways to…

Colorado Climate Plan

03/22/19
The goal of this document is to set clear and specific emission reduction goals for the State of Colorado, to identify opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and to promote state policy recommendations and actions…

Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap

10/02/15
The goals of the Roadmap are to assess the sources of the state’s greenhouse gas pollution; to identify a series of policy actions and other steps the state can prioritize to further GHG pollution reduction…

KEY RESOURCES

Colorado State Profile and Energy Estimates

09/24/21
Colorado has abundant fossil fuel reserves and renewable energy resources. Its diverse geography and geology include the headwaters of major rivers; potential to develop new wind and solar energy; and substantial deposits of crude oil,…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Colorado

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Colorado experienced seven severe storms, one wildfire, and one drought. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Colorado Fires a Reminder That Wildfires Pose Threats to Life and Property Well Beyond California

09/17/20
“Damage caused by fire and smoke is covered under homeowners, renters and business insurance policies as well as under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy,” said Michael Barry, vice president, Media Relations at…

State-by-State: Colorado

07/31/20
Colorado is vulnerable to increasing heat, melting snowpack and glaciers, reduced water availability and wildfires

Colorado’s Climate and Colorado’s Health Report

07/29/19
Colorado’s changing climate poses health risks – now and into the future. Studies show that climate change and health are linked. Rising temperatures, polluted air and extreme weather, among the most impactful results of climate…

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment

07/29/19
Climate change reports and resources

Four Ways the Climate Crisis is Impacting Colorado

07/29/19
Here are four major ways that residents of the Centennial State are seeing the impacts of climate change right now.

Impacts in Colorado

07/29/19
A partnership of University of Colorado research centers has collaborated on a great website to help you Learn More About Climate in Colorado.

350 Colorado

07/24/19
350 Colorado formed as an independent state affiliate of 350.org, a global organization building a movement to solve the climate crisis. Although we have been organizing events and growing since 2010, in 2013 we decided…

Lafayette Climate Bill of Rights

03/21/17
An ordinance of the city council of the city of Lafayette, Colorado, enacting the climate bill of rights and protections.

What Climate Change Means for Colorado

08/01/16
Colorado’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed one or two degrees (F) in the last century. Throughout the western United States, heat waves are becoming more common, snow is melting earlier in…

MORE NEWS

1 big thing: Wildfire hits tight-knit climate science community

By Ben German and Andrew Freedman  Photo: RJ Sangosti , Getty Images   01/03/22  
The wind-whipped firestorm that tore through parts of Boulder County, Colorado, on Thursday struck at the heart of one of America's top climate science and meteorology research hubs, Andrew writes.

‘Total devastation’ after wildfire charges through Colorado towns

By Ari Schneider, Jennifer Oldham, Marisa Iati and Emmanuel Felton  Photo: Brittany Peterson/AP   12/31/21  
More than 500 families may enter a new year having lost their homes after runaway grass fires bore down on the region northwest of Denver on Thursday, but others were returning to their neighborhoods Friday…

In Colorado, electric cars are mostly for rich people. Could federal and state policy change that?

By Sam Brasch  Photo: Sam Brasch/CPR News   12/31/21  
The sun was setting when Shere Walker drove her 2014 Nissan hatchback to pick up her daughter from an after-school program in Jefferson County. The stop was her final destination before a crosstown trip to…

Dire climate change scenarios for Colorado’s High Country ‘untethered from the real world’

By Jake Fogleman   12/30/21  
Local governments in Colorado’s High Country have spent thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on climate studies pushing questionable emissions scenarios. The studies—conducted by Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) on behalf of Summit and Eagle…

Rising temperatures, extreme drought and giant wildfires batter Colorado ski industry

By Vicky Collins  Photo: Jason Connolly / AFP - Getty Images   12/25/21  
During the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at Breckenridge Ski Resort in early December, thousands of people crowded onto Main Street under a bluebird sky.

Renewable energy is reducing Colorado Springs’ carbon footprint

By Heidi Beedle  Photo: Heidi Beedle   12/22/21  
The Manitou Springs Water Treatment Plant, in partnership with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, announced they have finished installation of an in-pipe hydropower system, which is a small step toward Colorado Springs…

Biden administration calls for ‘solar energy zones’ in Colorado

By The Associated Press  Photo: Michael Quine AP, File   12/22/21  
U.S. officials announced approval Tuesday of two large-scale solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in other Western states, including Colorado, to potential solar power development, as part of the Biden…
NPR

Infrastructure law may help Colorado’s aim to tackle poverty and climate change

By Sam Brasch   12/22/21  
Colorado is trying to fight both poverty and climate change. They're doing so by retrofitting low-income homes after the state got a big boost from the infrastructure law. In this encore presentation, Sam Brasch of…

First-in-the-U.S. rules that give oil and gas industry leeway in slashing emissions OK’d in Colorado

By Mark Jaffe   12/20/21  
Colorado air regulators have adopted a sweeping set of rules to slash methane emissions from oil and gas operations, including a controversial, first-in-the nation program giving industry a freer hand in determining how to cut…

Storms boost mountain snowpack, but drought persists as Denver sees warmest, driest last half of year

By Blair Miller  Photo: Thomas Peipert/AP   12/16/21  
Snow over the past week in Colorado’s mountains has boosted the meager snowpack, but it is still far below median levels, and the statewide drought has not improved as Denver sees its warmest and driest…

Cloud seeding gains steam as West faces worsening droughts

By Maddie Stone  Photo: David Bogie/Idaho Power Company   11/21/21  
As the first winter storms rolled through this month, a King Air C90 turboprop aircraft contracted by the hydropower company Idaho Power took to the skies over southern Idaho to make it snow.

Colorado program gives new life to old solar panels

By YCC Team  Photo: Richard Stromberg   11/12/21  
Solar technology is improving quickly, so many people are upgrading their solar panels to new, more efficient models. But when they do, their old solar panels often end up in a landfill.

From Western Slope to Eastern Plains, Colorado agriculture under pressure to adapt to warming world

By Judith Kohler  Photo: Helen H. Richardson , The Denver Post   09/22/21  
Not long after Paul Bruchez’s family bought a ranch along the Colorado River near Kremmling, his father became ill amid a crippling drought in 2002 that left them without irrigation water.

Fueled by climate change, costly Southwest drought isn’t going away

By Rong Fu and others  Photo: Roger Kisby , Bloomberg News   09/21/21  
With absent rainy seasons, depleted snowpack, widespread heat waves, unprecedented wildfires and low reservoirs, the American West has experienced an extraordinary drought since early 2020. To inform and prepare Americans for droughts like this one,…

At Colorado’s tight-lipped air pollution agency, a ‘culture of fear’ prevails

By Chase Woodruff  Photo: Chase Woodruff , Colorado Newsline   09/20/21  
Few Coloradans know the Air Pollution Control Division by name, but every time they take a breath of Rocky Mountain air, they’re impacted by the decisions it makes.

On the river with Mitt Romney and Michael Bennet: Politicians, industry heads talk drought, climate change in the West

By Kyle Dunphey  Photo: Spenser Heaps , Desert News   09/18/21  
It was supposed to take five hours. But the float from the Hittle Bottom Campground along the Colorado River to the Sandy Beach River Access, organized by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet with the goal to…

Addressing methane: Learning from Colorado

By Barry G. Rabe   09/16/21  
After languishing for decades as the second banana of climate change behind carbon dioxide, methane appears to be enjoying its 15 minutes of fame—with even more notoriety likely on the horizon. The latest Intergovernmental Panel…

Climate change increases rare earth elements in Colorado’s Snake River

By Kylie Mohr  Photo: Ben Trollinger , AP   09/16/21  
The Snake River begins high in the mountains of Colorado, with headwaters near Loveland Pass. It weaves its way downstream through rocky fields to a wetland valley before cutting through Breckenridge and eventually dumping into the…

Climate change isn’t coming in the future, it’s already here. This is how it’s impacting your everyday life.

By Michael Booth  Photo: William Woody , Colorado Sun   09/16/21  
When Virginia Iglesias goes climbing in Eldorado Canyon or skis the Gore Range, she tries to block out all the big data she collects as a researcher for the University of Colorado’s Earth Lab climate…

Plants Could Be Even Better At Fighting Climate Change. A Boulder Garden Shows Ozone Is Holding Them Back

By Sam Brasch  Photo: Kevin J. Beaty , Denverite   09/15/21  
Unlike most gardeners, Danica Lombardozzi doesn’t look for tomatoes and cucumbers at the end of the summer. The climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research instead searches her “ozone garden” for brown and…

Biden turns to Colorado to pitch investments in clean energy to combat climate change

By Alexandra Jaffe and Darlene Superville  Photo: Associated Press   09/14/21  
 While legislators craft the details back in Washington, President Joe Biden is pitching his massive domestic spending package with a visit to a renewable energy lab in Colorado to highlight how the investments in clean energy in…

Climate Change Prompts High Temperatures in Colorado, Presenting Major Health Risk

By Precious Smith   09/13/21  
Scientists at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and National Jewish Health published Research findings on the 13th of September in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology which show that climate change has…

Mudslide on scenic Colorado highway tests limits of aging infrastructure in era of climate change

By Vicky Collins   09/12/21  
 The flash flood roared down Glenwood Canyon with such force that it changed the course of the Colorado River. Torrents of mud, boulders as big as cars and toppled trees plunged down towering walls of…

New Colorado Climate Corps To ‘Tackle The Climate Crisis’

By Danielle Chavira   09/12/21  
 Colorado leaders announced they are joining forces with the Colorado Interagency Climate Team to create the Colorado Climate Corps. Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, both…

New Colorado Climate Corps to combat wildfires and floods, protect public lands

By Conrad Swanson  Photo: Conrad Swanson , Denver Post   09/11/21  
Marcus Luscher’s 30-acre property northeast of Nederland was still smoking when he bought it about five years ago, after the Cold Spring Fire swept through.

Colorado conservatives speak up on fires, climate

By Joey Bunch  Photo: Colorado Farm Bureau   09/07/21  
The conversation on hurricanes, wildfires and other symptoms of climate change has been dominated by the left, but some conservatives in Denver are speaking up.

Scientists Watch Pikas Living In Colorado’s High Alpine Areas For Clues On Climate Change

By Jamie Leary   08/30/21  
“Pikas rely heavily on alpine habitat and so they’re considered an indicator for how climate change may be affecting the alpine ecosystem. So they’re essentially a sentinel or canary in the coal mine for how…

40 Million People Rely on the Colorado River. It’s Drying Up Fast.

By Abrahm Lustgarten  Photo: Matthew Reamer , The New York Times   08/27/21  
On a 110-degree day several years ago, surrounded by piles of sand and rock in the desert outside Las Vegas, I stepped into a yellow cage large enough to fit three standing adults and was…

Where Dark Skies Draw Star-Gazers, Wildfire Smoke Spoils the View

By Dave Philipps  Photo: Michael Ciaglo , The New York Times   08/13/21  
 The high, lonesome dunes that run up against the Rocky Mountains at 7,500 feet above sea level in southern Colorado are a long, long drive from the closest streetlight, and after dusk, the almost untainted…

How to cut carbon emissions while advancing environmental justice in the US West

By Jeff St. John   08/05/21  
Cutting carbon emissions is a must to combat climate change. But policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions as quickly as possible aren’t always aligned with those meant to ensure that the people most harmed by…

Colorado’s Subalpine Forests Are Dying from Extreme Heat

By Olivia Rosane  Photo: Robert Andrus   08/02/21  
This is the case in the high-elevation woodlands of the Colorado Rockies, where warmer and drier conditions encourage bark-beetle outbreaks and more extreme wildfires. However, a new study published in the Journal of Ecology this…

Driving an Electric Car on Colorado’s Scenic Byways

By Elaine Glusac  Photo: Benjamin Rasmussen   06/16/21  
Unless you are one of the estimated seven percent of Americans who own an electric vehicle, it’s pretty hard to take a scenic, emissions-free road trip. But for those owners and other eco-conscious travelers who…

Why this mid-June stretch of hot temperatures in Colorado is different

By Mike Nelson  Photo: Lance Hernandez , Denver7   06/16/21  
Temperatures soared to 98 degrees in Denver Monday afternoon - way above the average high of 82 degrees for mid-June, but shy of the record of 102 degrees, set on June 14, 2006.

Rocky Mountain forests burning more now than any time in the past 2,000 years

By Philip Higuera and Others   06/15/21  
The exceptional drought in the U.S. West has people across the region on edge after the record-setting fires of 2020. Last year, Colorado alone saw its three largest fires in recorded state history, one burning…

Denver Releases Renewable Heating and Cooling Plan

06/15/21  
The Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR) released a Renewable Heating and Cooling Plan today showing how Denver residents can heat and cool their homes and businesses efficiently with clean electricity.

Governor Signs Trio of Climate Action & Clean Energy Stimulus Bills

By Colorado Senate Democrates   06/15/21  
Stimulus bills will provide resources to renewable energy projects, clean energy sector workforce development, and energy efficiency projects

Colorado’s compromise climate bill demands emissions cuts for electricity, industry and oil and gas

By Jeff St. John   06/14/21  
Colorado has ended its 2021 legislative session with a compromise on climate change legislation being struck between House and Senate Democrats and Governor Jared Polis (D). The legislation will set enforceable greenhouse gas emissions reduction…

UW Faculty Member Contributes to Study of Unprecedented Rocky Mountain Subalpine Wildfires

Photo: Jason Shogren   06/14/21  
Last fall, the Mullen fire west of Laramie raged for the better part of two months, burning more than 176,000 acres and 70 structures in Carbon and Albany counties, and in Jackson County, Colo.

Bigger, cheaper, faster: Colorado company advances its technology to harness the wind

By Judith Kohler   06/14/21  
A Denver company has tapped a construction technique used in the oil and gas industry to make bigger and cheaper wind-turbine towers faster, setting the stage to help expand wind power on the East Coast…

Xcel Energy To Present Proposed Energy Resource Plan At Boulder City Council Study Session

By Evan Vega   06/13/21  
Xcel Energy officials shared more information about the utility’s energy resource plan, which aims to cut CO2 emissions by 85% by 2030, at a study session of Boulder City Council on Tuesday.

Vail joins three other ski resort operators in climate pledge

By Lucas High   06/11/21  
Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) is joining fellow ski area operators Alterra Mountain Co., Boyne USA Inc. and Powdr Corp. in a unified pledge to help combat climate change and boost sustainability.

Most Colorado coal power plants less cost effective than wind, solar

By John Frank   06/11/21  
All but one of Colorado's seven coal power plants are less cost effective than wind and solar power, according to an analysis from environmental firm Energy Innovation.

Ozone pollution in Colorado is spiking. Here’s what you need to know. – Aurora, Colorado

06/10/21  
Ground-level ozone air pollution in the Colorado Front Range broke federal health limits this week, urging state officials to post million-visible “action day” alerts along highways and on phone apps, driving residents Reduced and in…

Colorado legislators direct all transmission utilities to join an organized wholesale market by 2030

By Emma Penrod  Photo: John Moore via Getty Images   06/08/21  
A bipartisan bill requiring all Colorado transmission utilities to join an organized wholesale market by 2030 cleared the Colorado legislature last Thursday, drawing praise from both advocates and utilities. Senate Bill 72 will also create…

Senate Approves Colorado Comeback Bills to Support Clean Energy Projects & Invest in SNAP

By Colorado Senate Democrates   06/02/21  
Today, the Senate approved two stimulus bills that will help fund renewable energy projects as well as invest in Colorado’s successful SNAP program. These bills are part of the Colorado Recovery Plan.

How much damage does climate change cause in Colorado?

By Mark Jaffe  Photo: Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun   05/25/21  
The East Troublesome fire, Colorado’s second largest ever, was sweeping across Grand County forests on Oct. 25, 2020, part of a record-breaking wildfire season that forced evacuations, destroyed homes and took lives. Half a world…

Colorado can get to all-clean energy — affordably

By Armond Cohen and Rich Powell   05/25/21  
Policy makers in Denver, D.C., and across the country are looking for ways to make the transition to 100% clean energy to address climate change and improve our environment.

Paths to a 100% clean energy grid

By Allen Best   05/25/21  
Two Colorado researchers on renewable energy have a recommendation that might surprise some who embrace goals of 100% renewable or, at least, emission-free electricity.

How much damage does climate change cause in Colorado?

By Mark Jaffe  Photo: Hugh Carey , The Colorado Sun   05/25/21  
The East Troublesome fire, Colorado’s second largest ever, was sweeping across Grand County forests on Oct. 25, 2020, part of a record-breaking wildfire season that forced evacuations, destroyed homes and took lives.

No drought in nearly half of Colorado while major drought continues in some regions

By Spencer McKee  Photo Credit: lovleah (iStock).   05/20/21  
A map released by the United States Drought Monitor on Thursday shows that much of Colorado is no longer under drought conditions – 48.2 percent of the state, to be exact. Leading the charge out…