DENVER, CO– The House today passed legislation to create jobs and help Colorado build back stronger by financing clean energy projects and weatherization services. These bills are a part of the Colorado Comeback state stimulus, a package of legislation that will invest roughly $800 million into helping Colorado recover faster and build back stronger.
“Renewable energy projects create jobs and help Colorado meet our climate goals,” said Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “By making smart investments that stimulate our economy and get people back to work, Colorado is going to advance new energy projects and clean energy retrofits across the state and build back stronger.”
“Colorado is going to lead the way on renewable energy projects that create jobs and protect our environment,” said Rep. Tracey Bernett, D-Longmont. “This innovative approach leverages state funding to draw down significant capital that will finance critical new clean energy and energy efficiency projects that will stimulate our economy and save consumers money.”
SB21-230, sponsored by Representatives Valdez and Burnett, passed by a vote of 42-21. The bill invests $40 million in clean energy finance initiatives through the Colorado Energy Office. The majority of the funds will go to the Colorado Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), which uses the “green bank” model already in operation in over a dozen states to finance clean energy projects and bridge the gaps between businesses and private capital providers. By leveraging limited public funds, the CCEF can draw over $120 million of total investment and create over 2,000 in Colorado communities most impacted by climate change. The remaining funds will be allocated to proven programs within the Colorado Energy Office that support clean energy retrofits, energy-efficient new construction, clean energy lending and funding for the installation of EV charging stations at facilities across the state.
“Home weatherization saves property owners money on their utility bills, lowers energy use, increases comfort, and creates good jobs for workers in this critical industry,” said Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder. “This program will help thousands of Coloradans improve the energy efficiency of their homes through cost-effective services that also improve home values.”
“New weatherization technologies, such as furnace safety testing or air sealing, help consumers save on their energy bills and reduce energy consumption,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “Boosting resources for the Weatherization Assistance Program will create jobs, reduce emissions that harm our environment, and help lower-income Coloradans make important home improvements that will lower their energy bills and also help protect our environment.”
The Colorado Energy Office’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) offers free weatherization support for Colorado’s low-income residents. WAP works to maximize energy cost savings for each client by providing them with cost-effective energy efficiency services. The program’s services focus on the home as a system and include a variety of measures that improve the home’s energy efficiency. These cost-effective services reduce wasted energy and lower heating bill costs, while improving the overall comfort and safety of a home year-round, they include things like air sealing, furnace safety testing, LED light bulb retrofits, and more.
SB21-231, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Edie Hooton, passed by a vote of 43-20. The bill provides $3 million in additional funding to supplement the program’s $20 million budget. Under its current budget, the program only serves about 2,000 homes per year, although about 500,000 Colorado households could qualify.