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Why won’t Colorado eco-left consider hydropower renewable?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers hydropower to be a renewable energy source.

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) calculates that carbon emissions from hydroelectric power are on par with wind and solar energy.

Last Thursday, Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leftist non-profit organization, testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee that hydroelectric power is renewable.

For more information on Weiss, see below.

Responding to question from Congressman Cory Gardner who asked Mr. Weiss if he considered hydropower to be “renewable,” Weiss stated, “yes it is.”

Video of that testimony is here. Congressman Gardner’s question to Weiss begins at the 1:53:27 mark.

Gardner went on to explain that Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives get a significant percentage of their power from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a federal hydropower project, yet that is not considered “renewable” under SB 252, the state bill to increase the renewable mandate on Colorado’s co-ops 100 percent by 2020.

Supporters of SB 252 claim to be concerned about carbon emissions, yet none advocate for hydro. Both the EPA and CAP consider hydro a renewable source, but supporters exclude most hydro from the bill.

This begs the questions: if hydro is renewable and clean and co-ops already use hydro, then why would the Colorado state legislature force them to comply with a mandate that excludes their clean source and requires a massive $2 billion to $4 billion build out?

Perhaps a better title for SB252 would have the “preferred” energy standard for rural electric cooperatives.

More about Weiss from his curriculum vitae:

Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at American Progress, where he leads the Center’s clean energy and climate advocacy campaign. Before coming to American Progress, he spent 25 years working with environmental advocacy organizations and political campaigns. Weiss is an expert in energy and environmental policy; legislative strategy and tactics; and advocacy communications.