In February we blogged about Colorado HB-10 1001, a bill then pending in the Colorado legislature that would increase Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) from 20% to 30% by 2020. The Democrat-sponsored bill was passed by the legislature on March 11 on a party line vote and yesterday it was signed into law by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter with great fanfare.

With the passage of this law Colorado now has one of the most ambitious RES’s in the country, and second only to California’s 30% requirement.

In addition to increasing the State’s RES, the law attempts to assist in job creation in the solar installation industry by placing greater emphasis on distributed generation (DG). For instance, the law requires Colorado utilities to spend 3% of its power purchases on distributed solar installations. The law also allows a utility to develop and own, as part of its rate base, up to 50% of the DG capacity it acquires from power purchase agreements and new construction if the cost is reasonably comparable to current market cost. The Public Utility Commission must also allow utilities the same cost recovery for the construction of new DG systems as allowed for new coal-fired facilities.