In back-to-back days this week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made public appearances in Denver to extol new multi-modal initiatives that shift the state from fossil fuels.
The first was on Wednesday at Union Station during the reveal of “Snowstang,” a round-trip bus service that transports travelers from Denver to three ski areas on weekends from Dec. 14 through April 20. Polis’ second sighting was on stage behind a podium Thursday in the Colorado Convention Center.
In the final hour of Mayor Michael Hancock’s fifth annual Sustainable Denver Summit, he said that in the next year, at least a third of the vehicles purchased by the state will be electric. He also said he’s “aggressively” pursuing the electrification of buildings, which would replace natural gas with electricity in buildings across the state.
The democratic governor said his goal is to move the state to 100% renewable energy by 2040 and praised Denver for helping “lead the way” toward meeting “bold” green energy goals.
“In the absence of federal leadership, I’m proud to say that local governments, the state and private sector companies … show that, in Colorado, we can lead the way to a sustainable, renewable-energy future,” he said.
More than 60,000 of Coloradans are employed in the renewable energy sector, which has grown by nearly 10% over the last year, Polis said.
“Our state will be at the forefront of developing and implementing new technologies to create good green jobs that will never be outsourced,” he said. “We’re on our way.”
Back in mid-January, the governor pointed out, he issued his first executive order that called for a statewide transition toward zero-emission vehicles. The goal is reducing emissions more than 25% by 2025, at least by half come 2030, and 90% by 2050, based on 2005 levels.
Denver also flexed its green muscle during the summit, when Hancock earlier pledged to further invest in electrifying nearly a quarter of Denver city fleet vehicles by 2029. Under the commitment, more than 800 city vehicles will be replaced by electric ones, which could take up to 11,500 tons of emissions out of the air.
His 2020 budget allocates nearly $3 million to buy more electrical vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them.
The environmentally friendly initiative aligns with Hancock’s $2 billion Mobility Action Plan, which intends to reduce single-occupancy vehicle travel, cut transportation-caused air pollution, encourage and increase electrical-vehicle usage, and make Denver’s transportation network safer.