Renewables could become the Rockies’ biggest source of power by 2030 under the Clean Power Plan

Wind turbines in China. (Chris Lim/Wikimedia Commons)

The Clean Power Plan is the federal government’s proposal to limit future carbon-dioxide emissions by new and current power sources.

If it’s implemented, it could do something in the Rockies and Southwest that would have seemed inconceivable until very recently: The CPP could make renewables the largest category of power source.

Without the Clean Power Plan, the feds expect that coal will remain the primary electricity source for the Rockies/Southwest region in 2030 making up 34 percent of the power supply, while wind and solar would make up 25 percent.

Clean Power Plan projections
Clean Power Plan projections

If President Barack Obama’s plan was implemented as currently proposed, it would give states targets for how much they should cut the globe-warming emissions made by fossil fuels.

Under those targets, wind and solar would become the main source for the Rockies/Southwest,providing 32 percent of all power, while coal would shrink to 27 percent, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That change would make the Rockies/Southwest the only region where wind and solar are the largest energy sources. Part of the reason is that renewables are already strong here, thanks to plenty of sunshine and wind.

Of course, all this depends on the plan happening.

It’s actually in court in Washington D.C. today, where Colorado is one of 27 states challenging it. Bloomberg has a good explainer.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email