2013 Colorado Legislature clean energy bills

Quick jump to topics: Clean energy financing | Alternative vehicle fuels | Building energy | Renewable energy | Forest biomass | Climate change advisory post | Utility policies

The 2013 legislative session ended May 8, 2013.

Other years' legislative trackers: 2010 | (2011 and 2012 not available) | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

Resource: How a Bill Becomes Colorado Law, 1-page flow chart prepared by Colorado Legislative Legal Services

Clean energy financing

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 212 Sen. Matt Jones, D-Boulder
Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Jefferson County

Commercial PACE financing
-- Calls on the governor to name the five-member New Energy Improvement District board by Sept. 1, and directs the board to develop a loan program for commercial properties using funds from private-sector lenders and local government bond issues.
-- Requires commercial borrowers to obtain the consent of their mortgage lenders to have the PACE property tax assessment take priority over the mortgage loan. This prioritization becomes a concern only if the borrower enters foreclosure.
-- Directs county assessors to exclude the value of renewable energy or energy efficiency upgrades in assessing the commercial property's value for tax purposes.

Passed Senate and House,signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 28, 2013
HB 1105 Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Jefferson County

Energy Saving Mortgage Program
Redefines the existing Energy Star mortgage incentive program as the Colorado Energy-Saving Mortgage Fund. Taps the state's Clean and Renewable Energy Fund, with an expenditure of $500,000 for FY 2013-14, matched by an additional minimum percentage from utilities and lenders.

The bill calls for mortgage amounts of $4,000 to $8,000 for new homes with a HERS index score of 0, and for upgrades to existing homes under efficiency standards to be set by the Colorado Energy Office.

Passed House and Senate, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 28, 2013

Alternative vehicle fuels

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1110 Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Larimer County
Sen. Matt Jones, D-Boulder
New CNG fuel tax and EV decal fee
Sets new fee structures for compressed natural gas (CN) and electric vehicles (EV).
For CNG, it eliminates the present CNG decal and annual license fee system and instead levies a fuel tax on CNG, LPG and LNG fuels starting at 3 cents a gallon in 2014 and rising to 18 cents a gallon in 2019. The tax tops out at 12 cents for LNG and 13 cents for LPG.
For EV, it establishes a new annual license decal fee of $50 for plug-in electric vehicles, with revenues to be divided between the Highway Users Tax Fund and the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund.
Passed by House and Senate, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 15, 2013
HB 1247 Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Boulder, Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Adams County

Innovative Motor Vehicle Income Tax Credit
Extends the state's refundable income tax credit for taxpayers who buy or lease an alternative fuel vehicle or convert a vehicle to an alternative fuel. The credit was set to expire in 2015, this bill extends the credit through 2021.
Adds 100% electric vehicles, CNG conversions to qualifying vehicles, and disqualifies high-mpg vehicles.

Bill signing ceremony for HBs 1110 and 1247:
Noon, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Loveland Water and Power Service Center
200 N. Wilson Ave., Loveland

Passed House and Senate, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 15, 2013
SB 70 Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Rep. Ray Scott, R-Mesa County
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Jefferson County
Alternative fuel vehicles in the state fleet
Requires the state Department of Personnel and Administration to report annually on the number of alternative fuel vehicles purchased for the state’s fleet. The report must also cover the growing availability of fueling and charging stations and contain a plan for building the needed fueling infrastructure for vehicles in the state's fleet.
Passed by Legislature, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper April 26, 2013
SB 126 Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver
Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver
EV charging stations
Requires apartment and condo landlords and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to allow tenants to install EV charging systems. The bill also allows owners of multi-family apartment buildings and HOAs to apply for grants to install EV charging stations from the state's Electric Vehicle Grant Fund.
Passed by Senate and House, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 3, 2013
SB 254 Sen. Matt Jones, D-Boulder
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Jefferson County
Energy cost-savings contracts for government fleets
Expands the authority of state and local government agencies to include vehicle fleets in the longstanding practice of energy cost-savings contracts, which have traditionally been applied to building energy upgrades. The bill allows state agencies, local governments and special districts to enter into energy cost-saving contracts aimed at increasing fuel cost and operations savings for vehicle fleets.
Passed Senate and House, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper June 5, 2013

< Back to top

Building energy

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 28 Sen. Matt Jones, D-Boulder
Rep. Max Tyler, D-Jefferson County
Tracking utility data in state buildings
Requires state agencies, including colleges and universities, to monitor, track and verify utility usage data for all buildings built or substantially renovated after July 1, 2013. It also encourages agencies with buildings built or remodeled after July 1, 2008, to collect utility data. The bill also ends the option to exempt facilities from meeting the state's High Performance Certification Program.
Passed by Legislature.
Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper March 22, 2013

Renewable energy

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 186 Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Adams
Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Jefferson County
Building-integrated PV
Expands the types of electricians allowed to supervise the installation of integrated "solar shingles" on rooftops. Current law requires NABCEP-certified electricians to supervise installation of all solar PV.
This bill allows licensed master electricians, journeyman electricians or residential wiremen to supervise installation of solar shingles by roofing contractors. The bill also prevents issuance of a clean energy loan unless the installation is done by an approved electrician.
Passed by Legislature, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 3, 2013
SB 286 Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Adams County; Sen. Greg
Brophy, R-Yuma; Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder; Rep. Jerry
Sonnenberg
Extending Enterprise Zone Tax Credits for renewable energy companies
The existing Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credit is an income tax credit equal to 3 percent of qualified investments made in an enterprise zone. Taxpayers may claim up to half their annual tax liability plus $5,000 in any one year, and the credit may be carried forward for 12 tax years.
SB13-286 adds 8 years to that carry-forward period for renewable energy companies, for a total of 20 years. A renewable energy company as an entity in the solar thermal electric, photovoltaic, landfill gas, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, recycled energy, anaerobic digestion, or renewable fuel business.

Passed Senate, House, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 28, 2013

< Back to top

Forest biomass

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 273 Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, D-Boulder
Rep. Millie Hamner, Frisco
Incentives for beneficial uses of forest biomass
Sets up a variety of incentives to harvest trees in Colorado's "red zones," the areas where development is in or near wildlands and where the risk of wildfire is high.
Creates enterprise zone tax credits for the forest products industry and biomass energy businesses within red zones, directs the State Forest Service to work with federal agencies to facilitate the use of forest biomass as feedstock for timber mills, and requires the PUC to consider the benefits of lowering wildfire risk when evaluating proposals for using forest biomass to generate electricity.

Passed Senate, House, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper June 5, 2013

Climate change advisory post

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1293 Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver
Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder
Governor's Climate Change advisor
Directs the governor to create at least a part-time position in his policy office to assess climate change issues, update the state's climate action plan, make policy recommendations for greenhouse gas reductions, and submit an annual report to the Legislature on climate change issues and impacts in Colorado.
Passed House and Senate, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 28, 2013

< Back to top

Utility policies

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1216 Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver Incentives for customer-generated renewable energy
Requires electric co-ops and municipal electric utilities to buy at least 1 percent of their electricity from their customers' on-site, grid-tied renewable energy systems by 2015. It also enables net metering for up to 25 kilowatts of residential and 75 kW of industrial or commercial customer-generated electricity.
Postponed indefinitely (allowed to die) in House Transportation & Energy Committee, April 25, 2013.
SB 252 Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs
Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver
Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver

Renewable Energy Standard amendments
Expands the state's existing Renewable Energy Standard to include energy derived from coal mine methane and landfill biogas, so long as using the gases to produce electricity does not cause a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Increases the required amount of renewable energy for electric co-ops, and for electric wholesalers serving co-ops, from the existing 10 percent requirement to reach 25 percent by 2020. It also allows these utilities to recoup 2 percent of the higher costs of renewable energy from ratepayers, up from the present 1 percent.

Passed Senate, House passes amended version, Senate re-passes amended version
signed by Gov. Hickenlooper June 5, 2013
SB 272 Sen Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village
Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Larimer County
Broadening gas utility DSM incentives
Directed the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to begin a rulemaking process aimed at increasing the diversity of incentives offered to customers of the state's seven regulated gas utilities. The PUC would have been asked to broaden the types of conservation, efficiency and renewable energy measures included in what utilities call demand-side management (DSM) programs, and the bill called for a new way of measuring the cost-effectiveness of DSM programs.

The fiscal note on this bill anticipated that the rulemaking would be "a contentious process," and forecasted more than $50,000 in staff time to carry out the policy change.

Postponed indefinitely (allowed to die) in Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee, April 23, 2013.
SB 282 Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver Medical exemptions to tiered electrical rates
Calls on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules by Nov. 1 exempting low-income customers with certain medical conditions from paying higher utility costs if they are subject to tiered electric rates. Under a tiered rate structure, customers pay more per kilowatt-hour once monthly usage rises above a certain level.

The exemption applies to customers earning less than 60 percent of the median area income, and cites heat-sensitive medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, scleroderma and paralysis, which may result in high electric costs for needed air conditioning.

Passed Senate and House, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 28, 2013

< Back to top