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DC Looks to Take on Energy, Global Warming; CO Could Show the Way

March 13, 2009

Denver - Congress is working on plans to take on both energy reform and fighting global warming soon, and some experts say Colorado is poised to lead the way to a greener future. One of those is Joe Mendelson, global warming policy director for the National Wildlife Federation. He says a new plan put forward by Democratic leaders could harness many of the natural resources that are part of the Centennial State's highly regarded "new energy economy."

"It's not surprising that, given Colorado's resource base for solar, wind and geothermal, it's become a hot bed for clean energy technology development."

Some say building more green energy infrastructure will mean rate increases for customers, but Mendelson says there are ways to ease into the change.

"When we transition, it's not necessarily going to be easy, but we can use some of the money that we get through a cap-and-trade system to help make sure that consumers don't bear the brunt of this."

Colorado's potential for creating green energy has been proven through projects like the 8.2-megawatt solar power plant near Alamosa, adds Mendelson.

"Devote, say, one square mile of Colorado to solar power and you can produce enough electricity for over a thousand households each year."

Mendelson adds that supporting more sustainable, homegrown sources of energy is essential to protecting the nation against energy price spikes that he predicts will be with us until a transition is made. Critics of the plan say lawmakers should focus on fixing the economy first, but President Obama responds that addressing energy is key to reviving the economy.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO