DENVER—It turns out Colorado’s New Energy Economy isn’t very economical.
A report from an analyst with the Independence Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute released Tuesday found that initiatives undertaken as part of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s energy agenda cost the state nearly $484 million in 2012.
What’s more, much of the energy generated under the agenda exceeded demand for electricity, meaning that ratepayers were billed nearly half a billion dollars for electricity that they did not use.
William Yeatman, energy policy analyst for CEI and the Institute, said that the Ritter administration changed the state’s mandate from providing the least expensive energy to providing clean energy.
“In fact, it seemed not to matter whether the electricity generated by these ‘new energy technologies’ was even needed,” said Yeatman. “The bill is now coming due, and it is not pretty. In 2012, Colorado ratepayers spent almost half a billion dollars on New Energy Economy policies, in return for unneeded energy.”
The report comes as Ritter, who now serves as director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, is being mentioned as a candidate on the short list to replace outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The $484 million represents 18 percent of Xcel Energy’s total electricity sales. The state’s 1.4 million ratepayers paid $345 each for the energy initiatives, according to the report, “2012 Cost Analysis of the New Energy Economy.”
The four energy initiatives studied in the report included the requirement that Xcel move 1,000 megawatts from coal-fired to natural-gas generation, and the renewable-energy quota for publicly traded utilities.
The report is the first to examine the costs and benefits of the state’s New Energy Economy initiatives, which began to be implemented in 2008.