Colorado Renewable Energy Policy Report

December 2023
Lanika Sanders**, Lanzhao Cheng**, Brooke Bulmash**, Upasana Roy**, University of Michigan

Amid the intensifying impacts of a changing climate and the need to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy presents a critical area of policy and planning that requires states to reconsider the energy policy status quo. Colorado is at the forefront of these efforts with ambitious targets for emissions reduction and clean energy, and a climate that provides both high solar and wind energy potential. That said, with the governor’s prohibition on cap-and-trade programs and the lack of enforceable targets within some of the state’s ambitious policies, Colorado’s path towards 100% renewable energy is relatively unclear. The following report examines the complexities surrounding the state’s energy mandates, emissions reduction and energy justice strategies, and siting and taxation policies to reveal a policy landscape that holds considerable potential to balance the more progressive-leaning goals of the state with the more conservative desires of many of Colorado’s rural communities. Further exploring such an approach offers a path towards a more sustainable energy future.