By Debi Brazzale, COLORADO NEWS AGENCY
Jobs could be coming to Colorado in the coming year if predictions by a solar energy group come to fruition, say Senate Democratic lawmakers.
The anticipated jobs, slated for the solar energy industry, are predicated on a study by Environment Colorado and the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association that claims a 23 percent increase in solar-industry jobs for Colorado based on national trends and Colorado’s current position as sixth in the nation for providing solar-related jobs.
Senate Democrats suggested last week in a news release that the findings indicate that “Colorado’s aggressive renewable energy standard and many other of the state’s clean energy policies are working.”
The report entitled “National Solar Jobs Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce,” is a departure from standard formats that depend on economic forecasts, and instead based its findings on employment history and projections from the industry.
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Golden, credits both the sun, and Democratic-sponsored legislation, for the estimated 5,300 new jobs predicted for Colorado in 2011.
“With 300 days of sunshine and an innovative workforce, it just made sense to sponsor strong renewable energy legislation. It’s exciting to see the fruits of that labor right in my district with people getting hired on to work in this blossoming industry,” said Tyler, who sponsored House Bill 1001 which mandates a 30 percent renewable-energy standard for public utilities to generate power by 2020.
Yet, Republican Rep. Frank McNulty, of Highlands Ranch, dismisses the Democratic enthusiasm over the study’s findings in light of legislation that Republican lawmakers have denounced as “job killing,” passed by majority Democrats during a session that some members of the business community labeled “the worst session ever” for businesses.
“This is a typical argument from the Democrat side where they kill tens of thousands of jobs throughout Colorado and then claim a small increase of jobs. It just doesn’t make sense,” said McNulty.