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A letter signed by two electrical cooperatives in Colorado and New Mexico, among 13 utilities nationwide, calls for a clean electricity standard among a broad suite of regulatory and legislative policies.

Colorado has set out to do it, and so can the United States as a whole, says the April 16 letter sent to President Joe Biden.

The letter asks for a federal standard requiring the electric sector be decarbonized 80% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels. That’s the same target as Colorado has embraced for 99% of its electrical utilities.

Some utilities, some states and some regions can move more rapidly, while others may have to move more slowly.
“However, collectively, we believe this national level of deep decarbonization across the U.S. power sector by 2030, as a whole, is both achievable and necessary,” the letter says.

The letter was signed by Colorado’s Holy Cross Energy and New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Association along with other utilities, most of them from the West.

Bryan Hannegan, chief executive of Holy Cross Energy, says he was contacted by the Clean Energy Group, a consortium of mostly nuclear and renewable heavy utilities. He shared it with others in his network. “Given the short turnaround we had, I suspect most received it too late to consider and respond.”

“Deep decarbonization of the power sector by 2030 is critical to ensure that the power sector serves as an enabler for the achievement of net-zero economy-wide emissions by 2050 and that the U.S. remains on track over the next decade,” the letter says.

But the utilities do see a potential role for carbon. They call for policies that provide incentives for zero- and low-carbon resources and technologies to support greater deployment of such resources, including decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects and carbon-capture projects as well as policies that reflect the role of both new and existing zero-emitting generation.”

This is from Big Pivots, an e-journal covering the energy and water transitions in Colorado and beyond. To get copies, sign up at https://bigpivots.com

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