Colorado Legislative Session Ends with Historic Wins For Clean Economy

Colorado’s clean energy businesses have much to celebrate after the legislative session ended Friday with a slate of new bills awaiting Governor Jared Polis’ signature that will have economy-wide impacts on the state’s growing clean energy industries.

On the emissions front, Colorado’s legislature passed four bills targeting reductions — starting with the already signed into law SB19–181 that repairs rules to minimize emissions of methane and other hydrocarbons from oil & gas operations. SB19–236 reauthorizes the Public Utilities Commission, expanding and strengthening the agency’s oversight authority, and directs the commission to evaluate the cost of carbon dioxide emissions in some proceedings. HB19–1261, the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, sets a series of statewide targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades — 25% by 2026, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. SB19–096 requires the Air Quality Control Commission to collect greenhouse gas emissions data and propose a draft rule to address the emissions by July 1, 2020.

There will also be four new laws to encourage the adoption of EVs.

  1. SB19–077 authorizes investor-owned utilities (Xcel Energy and Black Hills) to allow cost recovery for EV charging services — this was the third year the bill was introduced, finally passing!
  2. HB19–1159 extends the tax credit for purchasing and leasing a new EV to 2026.
  3. HB19–1298 protects EV charging stations from gas-powered vehicles using those parking spaces.
  4. HB19–1198 strengthens the EV infrastructure grants program administered by the Colorado Energy Office, and has already been signed into law.

Energy efficiency and renewable generation saw big wins as well, with HB19–1003 expanding the capacity of community solar gardens from 2MW to 5MW, while HB19–1231 updates appliance energy efficiency standards to highest in the country along w/CA, VT and WA and HB19–1260 requires local governments with building codes to adopt up-to-date versions of the International Energy Conservation Code. HB19–1314 creates a new Office of Just Transition tasked with creating a plan to help coal dependent communities create a more diversified, vibrant economy and provide coal workers access to job training opportunities.

Actions by E2 members and supporters made all this historical progress possible.

Since the session began in January, E2 members and supporters have authored op-eds and letters to the editors, signed action alert letters, provided testimony at committee hearings and contacted legislators with specific messages, oftentimes on very tight deadlines.

We have an incredible E2 chapter here in the Rockies — and it is only getting stronger with your help!