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RBC I Wade Buchanan, Governor Jared Polis’ Director of Policy and Research, has been named Director of the Office of Just Transition, which will be housed under the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). The office, created by HB19-1314, will focus on how to assist workers and communities impacted by Colorado’s move away from coal-based electrical generation. Buchanan will be leaving his current position at the end of the month.
“Due to price reductions and technological advances, the shift toward renewable energy is well underway,” said Governor Polis. “As we work toward achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, we need to make sure that Coloradans in coal-dependent communities have the tools they need to thrive in today and tomorrow’s economy. Wade is just the right person to lead the office’s efforts as our economy makes this transition.”
“Wade has years of experience advocating for practical and sensible energy and natural resource policy,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of CDLE. “His ability to build coalitions, as well as his wealth of knowledge and significant leadership experience, will serve the state well as we all work together to ensure we create an economy that elevates all Coloradans.”
Prior to serving in Governor Polis’ office, Buchanan was a senior advisor on aging in the Hickenlooper administration, president of the Bell Policy Center, a public policy organization, and acting executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and director of the Colorado Office of Energy Conservation in the administration of former-Governor Roy Romer.
The Office of Just Transition created a Just Transition Advisory Committee, charged with developing a draft just transition plan and presenting it to the governor and general assembly by Dec. 31, 2020. The bill’s language requires that the draft include information and recommendations concerning proposed:
Benefits for former coal workers to help them support themselves and their families, including access to education and training leading to high-quality jobs;
Strategies to assist communities that are dealing with the closure of coal mines, coal-fired power plants and other major employers due to the transition to cleaner energy sources;
Grants and other sustainable sources of funding to assist eligible entities in coal transition communities that seek to create a more diversified, equitable, and vibrant economic future for these communities.
More information on the Just Transition initiative can be found at justtransition.cdle.co.