Monday, March 15, 2010

Colorado Governor's Climate Advisor Alice Madden Speaks to Cutting-Edge Renewable Energy Course at the Sturm College of Law

Alice Madden, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's Climate Change Advisor, spoke recently to Adjunct Prof. Bob Noun's "Renewable Energy in the 21st Century: Policy, Legislation, Technology, Markets" course at the Sturm College of Law.

Ms. Madden, who served from 2004 to 2008 as the Majority Leader in the Colorado House of Representatives, spoke about attending on behalf of Gov. Ritter the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009 and the fact that the U.S. was much more active at the Copenhagen conference than it had been in previous climate change conferences.

She also explained the evolution of Colorado's renewable energy portfolio standard, the state mandated measure that sets a minimum level of renewable energy generation as part of a utility's entire generating portfolio. In 2004 state voters approved a "first of its kind" referendum that required investor owned utilities operating in Colorado to produce at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020. Under her leadership that percentage was subsequently increased by the State Legislature to 20 percent in 2007 and now the state is on the verge of increasing the number yet again to 30 percent by 2020.

The Governor's office, under the direction of Ms. Madden, has worked carefully with key stakeholders to build legislative and business support for the 30 percent level. She noted that assuming the 30 percent level is approved by the legislature, Colorado will have one of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the country, a level that will underscore Colorado's objective to be the center of "the new energy economy." Looked at another way, the fact that Colorado has gone from no renewable energy target in 2003 to probably 30 percent by 2010 is a testament to the leadership provided by a key group of renewables advocates including Ms. Madden.

Prof. Noun, who serves in a leadership position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable experts in the U.S. about renewables policy, has organized what some consider the most forward-looking renewable energy course offered by any American law school. Including learning from Ms. Madden, who is situated directly in the center of Colorado's policy making process, students have also heard from leaders in the renewable energy field including policy makers, lawyers, and technology experts.

"Renewable Energy in the 21s Century" is a "one of its kind" offering and the Sturm College of Law is delighted to be associated with nationally recognized leaders such as Prof. Noun and Ms. Madden.

--Don Smith

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