Salazar, other Dems plan energy forum
DENVER – Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar will reprise an energy summit that drew about 500 participants last year and that will be co-sponsored Gov. Bill Ritter and other top Democrats this year.Business, government and scientific leaders will be invited to the summit March 24 in Denver, said Cody Wertz, Salazar’s spokesman.The emphasis will be on renewable energy as well as the national energy policy and new energy technologies.A similar, first-of-its-kind summit hosted last January by Salazar attracted executives from Shell Oil and BP Solar and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, both Democrats, are the other co-sponsors of the Colorado New Energy Summit.”We want to give an overview of where we’re at,” Wertz said. “A lot of bills are up in Congress and at the state level as well.”Alexander Karsner, assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy, has been invited to speak at the conference.Salazar, a Democrat in his third year in the Senate, and other political leaders have said Colorado could become a renewable energy leader. They point to a 2004 ballot measure that made Colorado voters the first in the country to mandate that utilities get a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources.Salazar is part of a bipartisan group in Congress that advocates getting 25 percent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources by 2025. He has promoted wind farms, biodiesel and ethanol as ways to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil while boosting the rural economy.Ritter, who took office in January, and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Legislature support bills that would, among other things, increase the amount of power utilities must get from renewable energy sources and provide incentives to businesses and homeowners to install renewable electric systems.Ritter joined legislative leaders at a Jan. 17 news conference to announce the first of about a dozen bills they said are geared toward building “the energy economy” in the state.Last year, Hickenlooper announced a series of environmental programs called Greenprint Denver that include cutting greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and increasing recycling, energy efficiency and the number of city vehicles using biodiesel.
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