The beginning of May for 2013 brought the Republican Party legislators out to call for a veto on the newly developed energy bill that would force cooperative power companies in rural areas to increase renewable energy sources by 20-percent by 2020. The GOP has concerns that forcing this kind of an implementation on rural communities could hurt those within the area of the co-op power companies. Could these fears be based in a realistic truth? The GOP, coincidentally a group who is in denial of global warming, expresses concerns that farmers and residents in these smaller communities couldn’t afford to pay for such a large scale development.
1. Ranchers and Farmers - For the discussion of ranchers and farmers, Senator Steve King of Grand Junction is quoted saying, “They are just barely hanging on.” This comes after a statement of how many farmlands and steerage facilities are merely nonprofit at the moment. It’s suggested that any increase to a monthly electric bill to offset the implementation costs would be detrimental.
Wouldn’t it stand to reason that a power company would be better off building these units themselves without the increase to a customer’s bill? Although the initial installation comes out of the pocket of the cooperative power company, the installation of renewable methods such as solar or wind reduces the costs of acquiring power in other fashions such as coal. Without adjusting the monthly bills, the power companies could be making more money from reducing the expenses of maintaining power throughout a rural area. Wouldn’t it be more profitable to invest in these methods before the rural communities begin developing their own power production, which will decrease income to the cooperative power company?
2. Two-Percent - The bill itself puts a cap on what cooperative power companies can tack onto a consumer’s statement at two-percent. This means that if you pay $150 per month for electricity now, you would pay $153 if this becomes law. Two-percent doesn’t sound like a vast amount of money when you think about it.
Opponents of the bill see it as a capacity for cooperative power companies in Colorado to shift the responsibility over to the consumers for this bill, which affects the co-op companies. Could this be used as a promotion for cooperative power companies to instill upheaval within communities to speak out against this bill?
Senate President John Morse decrees that the two-percent cap limit is more of a protective shield to protect cooperative power companies from being forced to obey if the costs are too great for the surrounding community. In other words, if the costs are too high to build renewable energy for a rural community, the co-op power company doesn’t have to uphold the law. The construction costs these power companies would experience needs to fall below the two-percent in order for the implementation to be cost effective.
From the actions of the Republican Party, one could speculate that there is a fear of innovation and reducing the use of products such as coal and oil as a whole. While it stands to reason that an increase of 20-percent of renewable power offering to rural communities could be an expensive feat, are these officials taking into consideration the continued downward spiral of manufacturing costs of solar and more efficient designs of wind turbines? In the long run, cooperative power companies would stand to make more money by implementing a strategy for renewable energy production as there is no cost for fueling a plant powered by the Sun or wind.