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Should Colorado Go Green?

Analyzing and Debunking the Myths of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Policy

IP-5-2003 (March 2003)
Author: Matthew R. Edgar

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Executive Summary

Some Colorado politicians are attempting to develop policies to promote renewable energies (so-called green energies)* because of the perceived health and environmental risks of coal and natural gas power. Pro-green advocates often claim that renewable energies are more efficient than traditional energy generation technologies.

These claims ignore the increasing cleanliness of the traditional technologies. These claims also ignore the technological and economic inefficiencies of renewable energy, especially solar and wind power. Lastly, these claims overestimate the environmental benefits of renewable energy.

Colorado officials have developed several policies to try to promote renewable energy:

  • Mandate the use of renewable energies
  • Government purchasing of renewable energy electricity power for consumers
  • Market strategies that allow customers to choose whether or not they would like to pay more for renewable energies

Mandating renewable energies will increase the price of electricity, but will not significantly reduce pollution. The government purchasing of renewable energy electricity power stunts the innovation of renewable energies and will increase the amount of inefficient energies providing electricity to all consumers. Market-based solution have the most potential for increasing the efficiency of the renewable energies by encouraging innovation.