Colorado is now controlled by Democrats who, led by their new Governor, intend to foolishly push toward 100% renewable energy. They now control both the House and the Senate, as well as the Governor, Jared Polis, who ran on a 100% renewables promise.

In fact the first big green steps were taken in December, before the new crew was even sworn in.

To begin with, the then Governor, also a renewables loving Democrat, found a way to pack the Colorado Public Utilities Commission with fellow travelers. State law says no more than two members of the three-member commission can be from the same political party. This of course refers to Democrats and Republicans and that is how it has always been, until now.

The term of the sole Republican on the PUC expired at the end of the year. Instead of appointing another Republican, the Governor named someone who is registered as “Unaffiliated.” Apparently Unaffiliated is a political party! I am not making this up.

Not surprisingly, this Unaffiliated person is a staunch liberal, one who no doubt loves renewable energy schemes. How could it be otherwise? So the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which oversees power development, is now well packed with wind lovers.

Not to be outdone, the State’s big electric power utility — Xcel Energy — simultaneously announced its goal of becoming “emission free” by 2050. I discuss that fiasco in my CFACT article “Giant Colorado energy company Xcel goes crazy green.”

Now we have Colorado’s governor, legislature, public utility commission and power utility Xcel all lined up and ready to roll over the people of Colorado. There is not a check or balance in sight.

Fortunately 100% renewables will be a long time coming and the fact that it is physically impossible may slow it down. But it is going to be a painful lesson, beginning with the construction of Xcel’s $2.5 billion Colorado Energy Plan. This is a big first step toward the ultimate renewables fiasco, because it does not just build new wind and solar generation, it actually shuts down perfectly good coal power plants to make room for this green iron.

To be sure, there are studies that claim that 100% renewables is feasible, and a number of States use them, but they are junk. As with everything else in the green climate change fantasy, these studies use computer models that are specifically designed to get the desired answer.

The trick is simple. Wind varies unpredictably so they model it as a random variable, for each wind farm. The problem is that as the number of wind farms increases, which it certainly does in the typical 100% renewables scenario, all these random sequences get added together. When that happens they will average out, making the low wind episodes disappear.

Reality is quite different, especially when massive prolonged high pressure systems come along. These can create very low wind conditions across a huge geographical area, like half of the country or more. When this happens none of the wind farms produces much power. Unfortunately these stagnant highs also tend to produce a maximum need for electricity, because they create heat waves in summer and very cold spells in winter.

In short these randomized wind models miss the worst cases, which tend to occur painfully often, like once or twice a year or more.

So it looks like Colorado is on a collision course with low wind reality. What is almost funny here is that Colorado is home to DOE’s huge National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It probably has more renewable energy experts than any other state, or country for that matter.

Surely these folks know that 100% is impossible. Maybe they think it will be fun (and profitable) to try, at least until the rolling blackouts start (as just happened again in wind-driven Australia). Mighty Xcel Energy will also make a fortune along the way.

So stay tuned as the Green New Wave grows to tsunami strength in Colorado. Here it comes.


  • David Wojick

    David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see Available for confidential research and consulting.