Colorado now has one of the highest renewable energy standards in the country. Governor Bill Ritter signed legislation March 22 that will require large utilities to obtain 30% of their power from renewable sources by 2020. In 2004 the state was the first to have a voter-approved renewable energy standard. That referendum called for 10% renewable power by 2015. The requirement was increased to 20% by 2020 in 2007.
The new law credits electricity produced from solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy, biomass power, small hydropower, recycled electricity from waste heat, and fuel cells powered with hydrogen derived from eligible renewable energy resources. Under the new law utilities must supply at least 12% of their retail electric sales from such sources from 2011 to 2014; 20% from 2015 to 2019; and 30% for 2020 and beyond. There is an exception for municipal utilities serving 40,000 or fewer customers.