DENVER, CO— The Energy Legislation Review Interim Study Committee today advanced three bipartisan bills to promote renewable energy transmission, storage and use after spending the last several months meeting with stakeholders across the state on energy issues. 

“From improving our state’s air quality to taking action on climate change, increasing the use of renewable energy is critical to making the progress we need to address our climate crisis,” said Energy Legislation Review Interim Study Committee Chair Rep. Chris Hansen (D-Denver). “These bills, which we developed through extensive discussions with stakeholders throughout the energy industry and communities across the state, will make it easier to transmit renewable energy, increase the use of biodiesel fuels and encourage investment in new battery storage technologies to lower energy costs and protect our environment.”

“Because of the importance of addressing climate change, we’ve decided to examine energy issues year round,” said Committee Vice Chair Senator Foote (D-Longmont). I’m pleased that we moved forward today with bipartisan support on some common sense energy solutions that will facilitate Colorado’s transition to renewable energy.” 

“We’ve made a lot of progress in increasing the use of renewable energy sources and reducing emissions in our state, but we still have work to do to ensure we meet our climate goals and lower our reliance on fossil fuels,” said committee member Rep. Dominique Jackson (D-Aurora). “The legislation we passed today will improve our state’s use of renewable energy and continues our commitment to advancing energy policies that protect public health.”

“Our planet is facing a climate crisis,” said committee member Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Longmont). “Increasing the use of renewable energy is a critical part of our efforts to pass along a livable planet to our children, and I’m pleased to see these bills move forward to encourage the use of biodiesel and make it easier to transmit and store renewable energy.”

“The bills we passed today will continue to build on our progress toward reducing carbon emissions and supporting our transition to renewable energy,” said committee member Senator Faith Winter (D-Westminster). “I’m proud of the work this committee has done over the past several months to ensure Colorado remains a leader in addressing the climate crisis at the state level.”

Committee members have been traveling across the state and engaging with stakeholders and communities about the Colorado’s energy landscape. Over the course of several months, the committee heard from the oil and gas industry, coal communities, renewable power industries, and local governments about innovative new jobs and technologies. The committee engaged in  conversations, hearings, testimony and site visits to communities and energy facilities such as the coal-powered Pawnee Generating Station in Fort Morgan; a wind facility in Limon; a hydro-electric facility in Palisade and the net-zero, all-electric community in Basalt.

1. Conservation Easement Safeguards for Transmission Development: The first bill advanced today would enable a modification of conservation easements to include the placement of electrical transmission lines primarily used for renewable energy. This would allow private wind or solar companies, among others, to enter into agreements with willing private landowners to transfer energy from the renewable energy source to where it is needed in communities across the state. 

Sponsors: Sen. Jake Tate, Sen. Faith Winter, Rep. Chris Hansen

2. Biodiesel Blend Requirement: The second bill moving forward would create a 5 percent biodiesel blending standard for all diesel fuel sold during the summer months in Colorado by January 2021 and a 10 percent standard by January 2023. Under the bill, Air Quality Control Commission must create a waiver process for supply disruptions or extreme weather.

Sponsors: Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis

3. Valuation of Energy Storage Equipment: The final bill wouldtreat the assessed value of battery storage for the purposes of property taxation in the same manner as renewable energy facilities used to generate and deliver electricity. Renewable energy production tends to peak when demand for electricity is low, so this bill incentivizes investments in storage to ensure the energy produced can be used when there is demand for it. 

Sponsors: Rep. Hansen, Rep. Dominique Jackson, Sen. Faith Winter