Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility and a key backer of Colorado’s aggressive renewable energy standard (RES), reacted with skepticism to Monday’s lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law mandating 30 percent of Xcel’s electricity be produced by renewable sources by 2020.
By David O. Williams
“We haven’t yet completely reviewed the legal filing, but we understand that it was made by a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization,” Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz told the Colorado Independent. “We would be surprised if a federal court would overturn Colorado’s legislatively approved Renewable Energy Standard.”
American Tradition Partnership (ATP), a conservative, pro-fossil fuel nonprofit group, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver on Monday (pdf), labeling Colorado’s RES the “Expensive Energy Mandate.”
The nonprofit American Tradition Institute and Morrison “tech entrepreneur” Rod Lueck (pdf) also are named as plaintiffs in the case, which seeks to overturn Colorado’s RES on the “grounds it wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce, violating Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution,” according to an ATP release.
“The Expensive Energy Mandate doesn’t just kill jobs and drive up prices, it wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce by disrupting the interstate power grid,” ATP Executive Director Donald Ferguson said in the release. “Families and consumers, along with the Constitution, are wronged by the Expensive Energy Mandate.”
However, Colorado voters in 2004 approved Amendment 37 by a margin of 53 to 47 percent, setting the RES for public utilities at the 10 percent by 2020 level. At the time, the RES was statutory and not a constitutional amendment. The legislature made the RES state law in 2005 and then twice increased it – first to 20 percent by 2020 and then to 30 percent