2014 Colorado Legislature clean energy bills

Quick jump to topics: Research & Economic Development | Alternative Fuel Vehicles | Renewable Energy | Utilities | Financing | Active Transportation

The 2014 legislative session began Jan. 8, 2014, and ended May 7, 2014.

Other years' legislative trackers: 2010 | (2011 and 2012 not available) | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019


Research and Economic Development

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 11 Sen. Rollie Heath, Rep. Dickie Lee Hullinghorst

Colorado Energy Research Authority
Changes the name of the Colorado Renewable Research Authority, created in 2006, to the Colorado Energy Research Authority, changes the authority's board membership, and allocates $1 million per year for the next two years to the Energy Research Cash Fund.

Funds are to be used for energy-related research conducted by the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory, which is a partnership of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Mines.

Introduced 1/8, passed Senate 4/14, amended and passed House 4/28, Senate concurs 4/29
SB 14 Sen. John Kefalas, Rep. Brittany Pettersen

Property Tax Grants for Heating Fuel Assistance
Modifies the Property Tax, Rent and Heat rebate, initiated in 1972, which assists low-income seniors and disabled persons with heat or fuel expenses.

Faced with declining participation in the program, SB 14 reduces income eligibility levels slightly, but increases the rebate amounts up to a maximum of $700 per year. The bill will increase state spending by $2.5 million in FY 2014-15 and by $2.6 million in FY 2015-16. The bill also allows rebate applications to be submitted online through the Department of Revenue.

Introduced 1/8, passed Senate 4/22, passed House 5/5
HB 1011 Rep. Dave Young, Rep. Cheri Gerou, Sen. Rollie Heath Colorado Advanced Industries Acceleration Fund
Creates the Colorado Advanced Industries Acceleration Fund and appropriates $5 million per year through 2016 for the Office of Economic Development and International Trade to provide incentives for advanced industries, including energy.
Introduced 1/8, passed House 4/7, passed Senate 4/28, House approved Senate amendments 4/30
HB 1012 Rep. Max Tyler, Rep. Cheri Gerou, Sen. John Kefalas Colorado Advanced Industries Tax Credit
Replaces the Innovation Investment Tax Credit with the Advanced Industries Investment Income Tax Credit. The 25% income tax credit (30% in rural or distressed areas) applies to qualified investments in small business advanced industries, including energy, and sets a per-investment maximum credit of $50,000. Total tax credits allowed each year are limited to $750,000 through tax year 2017.
Introduced 1/8, passed House 4/15, passed Senate 4/30, House approved Senate amendments 5/2
HB 1013 Rep. Pete Lee, Rep. Mike Foote, Sen. Nancy Todd Advanced Industries Workforce Development
Funds a $450,000-a-year, three-year program for the Office of Economic Development to reimburse employers in advanced industries, including energy, for half of the expenses, up to $5,000, associated with offering an internship or apprenticeship.
Introduced 1/8, passed House 4/7; postponed indefinitely by Senate Appropriations 5/1

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Alternative Fuel Vehicles: EVs, PHEVs, CNG

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 28 Sen. Matt Jones, Rep. Crisanta Duran, Rep. Max Tyler Electric Vehicle Grant Fund
Modifies the Electric Vehicle Grant Fund to make private businesses, nonprofits, state agencies, public universities and public transit agencies eligible to apply for grants for electric vehicle charging stations from the Colorado Energy Office. The grants are funded by diverting $20 of the $50 annual license decal fee paid by owners of plug-in electric vehicles.
Introduced 1/8, amended and passed Senate 1/28, passed House 3/24, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper 4/11
HB 1027 Rep. Randy Fischer, Sen. Matt Jones

Clarifying the Definition of a Plug-In Electric Vehicle
Amends the definition of a plug-in electric motor vehicle to clarify that it can be recharged from any external source of electricity, and that the electricity is stored in a rechargeable battery pack which propels or helps to propel the vehicle's drive wheels. The bill also expands the definition to include retrofitted vehicles that have been converted to a plug-in electric vehicle.

All such plug-in electric vehicles are subject to the state’s $50 annual license decal fee.

Introduced 1/8, passed House 1/23, passed Senate 2/11,
signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper 2/19

HB 1326 Rep. Dianne Primavera, Rep. Ray Scott, Sen. Mary Hodge

Tax Incentives for Alternative Fuel Trucks
This bill provides for a package of incentives to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, particularly medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, building on tax credits established in 2013.

  • Income tax credits for private-sector purchases of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks that use CNG, LNG, propane, electricity or hydrogen.
  • Raises and extends the income tax credits for light-duty trucks and cars using alternative fuels.
  • Provides additional tax credits for fittings that improve truck aerodynamics, reduce idling and make use of alternative-fuel refrigeration trailers.
  • Pays for the cost of the new tax credits by setting more strict limits on a sales and use tax exemption that has been allowed for low-emission vehicles.

The bill also calls on the Colorado Energy Office to conduct a study to determine whether alternative fuel vehicle models generate more or less life-cycle emissions compared to similar models fueled by gasoline or diesel. Life-cycle emissions must include tailpipe emissions as well as emissions associated with producing and transporting the fuels. Models that do not reduce emissions will no longer be eligible for the tax credit starting in 2019.

Introduced March 19, passed House 4/15, passed by Senate Finance 4/24, passed Senate 4/30

Signing ceremony:

SB 200

Sen. Matt Jones, Sen. Steve King, Rep. Dominick Moreno, Rep. Bob Rankin

Authorization for Alternative Fuel Vehicles to use HOV Lanes

  • Allows drivers of an authorized alternative fuel vehicle outfitted with a sticker, decal or transponder to use high occupancy vehicle (HOV) and high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes even if they are driving alone.
  • Prohibits drivers of low-emission vehicles not powered by alternative fuels from using HOV or HOT lanes when driving alone.
  • Authorizes the Colorado Department of Transportation to issue up to 6,000 stickers, decals or transponders to owners of alternative fuel vehicles, an increase from the present number of 2,000 issued to low-emission vehicles.
  • Notes that the sticker, decal or transponder expires after 4 years or when the vehicle is sold.

Introduced 4/16, Senate Transportation passed amended 4/22, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Appropriations 4/25



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Renewable Energy

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 35 Sen. Ted Harvey, Rep. Lori Saine, Rep. Stephen Humphrey

Colorado Renewable Energy Standard
Repeals many of the provisions of 2013's SB 252, governing RE standards for rural electric co-ops with more than 100,000 customers. Resets the standard back to 10% RE by 2020, resets the rate impact back to 1%, eliminates carve-outs for distributed RE, and eliminates RE standards for wholesale electric co-ops.

Introduced 1/8. Postponed Indefinitely Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs 1/15

SB 82 Sen. Kevin Grantham Colorado Renewable Energy Standard
Amends 2013's SB 252, governing RE standards for rural electric co-ops by reducing the amount of distributed renewable energy required from the present 1 percent for large co-ops and 0.75 percent for smaller co-ops to a uniform 0.5 percent for all rural electric co-ops.
Introduced 1/14, Postponed Indefinitely Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs 2/10
HB 1030 Rep. Don Coram, Rep. Diane Mitsch-Bush, Sen Gail Schwartz, Sen. Ellen Roberts

Incentives for Development of Hydroelectric Energy Systems
Requires the State Electrical Board to inspect small-scale hydroelectric generation facilities using applicable national electrical codes, and grants statutory authority to the Colorado Energy Office to coordinate official comments about hydroelectric license applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to facilitate more development of small-scale hydroelectric facilities.

Introduced 1/8, passed House 2/13, passed Senate 3/19, sent to the governor 4/30
HB 1067 Rep. Kathleen Conti, Sen. Larry Crowder Colorado Renewable Energy Standard
Delays the target date to achieve 20% RE, set in 2013's SB 252, governing RE standards for rural electric co-ops with more than 100,000 customers, from 2020 to 2025.
Introduced 1/8, Postponed Indefinitely
House Transportation and Energy 1/29
HB 1101 Rep. Max Tyler, Sen. Gail Schwartz Partial Tax Exemption for Community Solar Gardens
For property tax years 2015 through 2020, the bill exempts residential, governmental, church or nonprofit subscribers of community solar gardens from paying property tax on panels owned in a community solar garden. For business subscribers, the business personal property tax is levied only on the electrical generating capacity of the panels owned by the business.
Introduced 1/14, passed House 4/15, passed Senate Finance 4/22, passed Senate 4/30, sent to the governor 5/2
HB 1113 Rep. Ray Scott Colorado Renewable Energy Standard
Reduces the state's renewable energy standard to 15% for investor-owned utilities and for rural electric co-ops. The present standard requires investor-owned utilities to achieve 30% renewable energy by 2020, and rural electric co-ops to achieve 20% by 2020.
Introduced 1/15, Postponed Indefinitely by House Transportation and Energy 1/30
HB 1138 Rep. Lori Saine, Rep. Stephen Humphrey, Sen. Lois Tochtrop Including Hydroelectricity in the Renewable Energy Standard
Amends the definition of renewable energy resources that can be used to meet the state's renewable energy standard to include hydroelectricity and pump-back hydroelectricity.
Introduced 1/16, Postponed Indefinitely by House Transportation and Energy 2/5
HB 1159 Rep. Dave Young, Rep. Timothy Dore, Sen. Gail Schwartz, Sen. Larry Crowder

Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Biogas Equipment
Creates a five-year exemption, through July 1, 2019, from state sales and state use tax for equipment used in biogas production systems. Local governments that currently impose sales or use tax on such equipment may continue to do so or may exempt these systems from sales or use taxes.

Introduced 1/17, amended and passed House 4/10; passed Senate 4/29; House approves Senate amendments 5/2
HB 1305 Rep. Beth McCann, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, Sen. Mary Hodge, Sen. Greg Brophy

Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in Enterprise Zones
Allows a taxpayer making a renewable energy investment to annually choose to reduce their investment tax credit carryover and receive a refund of up to $1.25 million per income tax year. For every 85 cents received as a refund, the taxpayer's
investment tax credit carryover is reduced by $1. Normally, the 3% tax credit can be carried out for up to 22 years.

Introduced 3/5, House Finance refer amended 3/19, Postponed Indefinitely by House Appropriations 4/4

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1129 Rep. Steve Lebsock Local Government Approval of Utility Facilities
Requires local governments to take final action on utility applications for major electric or natural gas facilities within 90 days; allows local governments to seek additional information from state agencies, which must respond within 28 days.
Introduced 1/15, passed House 2/11, passed Senate 3/17, signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper 3/27

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1222 Rep. Mike McLachlan Clean Energy Project Private Activity Bonds
Amends the clean energy financing authority of county governments to issue private activity bonds for eligible clean energy projects on private property. The amendment reduces the allowable bond amount from $1 million to $500,000, extends the maximum term from 10 years to 15 years, and allows the bonds to be correlated to the energy project's revenue stream.
Introduced 1/30, passed House 2/24, passed Senate 3/19, sent to the governor 4/30
SB 171 Sen. Gail Schwartz, Sen. Matt Jones, Rep. Max Tyler Financing for Water Conservation Fixtures
Amends the Colorado New Energy Improvement District statute to add water conserving fixtures to the definition of an energy efficiency improvement.
Introduced 3/27, passed Senate 4/14, passed House 4/28


SB 186

Sen. Gail Schwartz, Sen. Andy Kerr, Rep. Max Tyler

Efficient Schools and Communities Performance Contracting
Sets up a process for the Colorado Energy Office to aggregate building, treatment facility or fleet energy efficiency projects or renewable energy projects for a small or rural city, county, school district or special district under a single performance contract.

From that contract, a fee of 1% will be assessed for the new Efficient Schools and Communities Performance Contract Fund, to be held and managed by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Once the fund builds up a sufficient reserve, it could be used to grant awards to:

  • Offset part of the costs of a technical energy assessment for a community entity.
  • Cover part of the costs of an energy service company's work for efficiency projects that are not financed through a performance contract.
Introduced 4/9, amended and passed Senate 4/23, passed House 5/3


SB 202

Sen. Andy Kerr

Modifying the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Schools state loan program
Increases the availability of funds for school districts to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements by:

  • Including lighting upgrades, insulation, building equipment, water conservation, fleet upgrades, solar thermal and solar electric as projects eligible for loans.
  • Allowing school districts to obtain renewable energy through a power purchase agreement, solar leasing or investing in a community solar garden.
  • Allowing program-funded projects to comply with the federal ENERGY STAR certification or with state standards for energy-efficient school buildings.
  • Lowering the interest rate charged to schools to be equal to the average book yield earned by the loan fund in the previous quarter.
Introduced April 16, amended and passed Senate 5/5, passed House 5/7

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Active Transportation

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1301 Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, Sen. Andy Kerr Safe Routes to School Program
Federal funds awarded to the Colorado Department of Transportation for Safe Routes to School programs in communities throughout the state will end in 2014. The bill provides $700,000 in state funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and specifies that 20 to 30% of the funds be used for non-infrastructure programs.
Introduced 3/3, passed House 4/14, passed Senate 5/5, House repasses w/Senate amendments 5/6