2015 Colorado Legislature clean energy bills

Quick jump to topics: Renewable Energy | Energy Efficiency | Financing | Active Transportation | Vehicle Efficiency and Alternative Fuels | Water Efficiency | Carbon Emissions | Energy Utilities | Solid Waste and Recycling

Last updated Aug. 20, 2015

The 2015 legislative session opened Jan. 7, 2015, and adjourned May 6, 2015.

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Renewable Energy

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1118 Rep. Paul Brown Expand Renewable Energy Standard to Include Hydroelectricity
Adds hydroelectricity projects of any size, including projects with pumped water, to the list of projects eligible for meeting Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard. The bill removes a restriction that allows small hydro facilities under a certain size to qualify for the standard.
Introduced Jan. 15, Postponed indefinitely by House State, Veterans and Military Affairs 2/18
HB 1121 Rep. Jon Becker, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg Clarifying Agreements Between Land Owners and Wind Energy Developers
Requires wind energy lease agreements to be recorded in order to be binding; sets a term for the lease to expire at 15 years if the wind energy project is not developed; and describes a process for parties to be released from the agreement.
Introduced 1/16, passed House 2/3, passed Senate 2/26, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper March 13
SB 9 Sen. Matt Jones, Rep. Millie Hamner

Grants for Use of Woody Biomass to Heat Public Buildings
Establishes a five-year grant program at $1 million per year for public entities to install woody biomass-fueling heating in public buildings. Sets a preference for groups of two or more buildings, and for buildings located close to forests.

Introduced 1/7, Postponed indefinitely 1/15 by Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee
SB 44 Sen. Ray Scott, Rep. Dan Thurlow Reducing Renewable Energy Standards for Utilities
Lowers the renewable energy standard for investor-owned utilities from 30% by 2020 to 15%, and lowers the standard for rural electric co-ops from 20% by 2020 to 15%.
Introduced 1/7, passed Senate 2/5, Postponed Indefinitely 3/2 by House State, Veterans and Military Affairs
SB 46 Sen. Kevin Grantham Reducing Costs of Reaching Renewable Energy Standard for Rural Electric Co-ops
Allows rural electric co-ops to count distributed renewable energy systems installed within their service area at three times their actual generation capacity, in order to meet the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard. The bill includes on-site systems and customer purchases from solar gardens.
Introduced 1/7, passed Senate 3/11, passed House 3/30, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper May 1
SB 63 Sen. Kerry Donovan Expansion of the Wind for Schools Grant program
Expands the 2007 Wind for Schools program with grants of up to $15,000 for school projects, and allows grant funding to be used for any type of alternative energy project. Schools seeking the grant must also improve their energy efficiency.The bill does not identify a funding source or set a total cap on the grant program.
Introduced 1/12, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Appropriations 4/10
HB 1180 Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Rep. James Wilson, Sen. Rollie Heath, Sen. Chris Holbert

Sales and Use Tax Refund for Clean Technology Research & Development
Creates a refund for sales and use taxes paid by qualified Colorado companies for tangible personal property used in research and development of clean energy technology, for tax years 2015 through 2019. Qualified companies may employ up to 35 people and must be based in Colorado. HB 1180 also applies to R&D in the medical technology field.

Introduced Jan. 29, passed House 4/15, passed Senate 4/27, sent to Gov. Hickenlooper 5/8
HB 1219 Rep. Beth McCann, Rep. Jon Becker, Sen. Mary Hodge, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credits for Renewable Energy
Existing law allows for investment tax credits for renewable energy projects installed in enterprise zones. The bill allows investors to take the tax credit as a refund at 80% of full value, for up to $750,000 per year. The bill also simplifies the definition of qualified renewable energy projects to match the definition in Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard. Amended to allow the tax credit only through the 2020 tax year.
Introduced 2/10, passed House 4/15, amended and passed Senate 4/29, House passed amended 4/30, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 5/26
HB 1284 Rep. Faith Winter, Rep. Catherine Roupe, Sen. Kevin Grantham, Sen. Mary Hodge

Enhancing Efficiency of Shared PV Energy Facilities
Amends Colorado's Community Solar Gardens law to require at least 10 subscribers for systems smaller than 500 kW and at least 25 subscribers for systems larger than 500 kW, requires subscribers to live in the same county or an adjacent county as the solar garden, and sets new requirements for interconnection fees charged by the electric utility serving the solar garden area.

Introduced 3/13, passed House 3/24, passed Senate 4/27. Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 5/8
HB 1332 Rep. Dan Pabon Income Tax Credit for Distributed Energy Systems
Creates a 30% income tax credit, for up to $50,000, for taxpayers who purchase and install a grid-tied renewable energy generation system using hydro, wind or biomass power, in tax years 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Introduced 4/1, passed House 5/1, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Appropriations 5/5
SB 254 Sen. Kevin Grantham, Rep. Pete Lee Extension of Renewable Energy Credits for Municipal Utilities
Extends the existing 3-to-1 multiplier for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from solar electric systems for meeting the state's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from July 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2016.
Introduced 3/27, passed Senate 4/21, passed House 5/1. Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 5/29
HB 1364 Rep. Don Coram, Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush Clarifying limited electrical inspections on small hydro facilities
Clarifies existing legislation governing electrical inspections of small hydroelectric facilities, noting that inspections are required regardless of whether or not facilities are connected to utility distribution lines, and are required for inverter-based facilities and for induction-based generating 100 kW or less.
Introduced 4/16, passed House 4/30, passed Senate 5/6. Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 5/29
HB 1377 Rep. Dominick Moreno, Rep. Jon Becker, Sen. Kevin Grantham, Sen. Kerry Donovan Expanded renewable energy technologies for rural electric co-ops
Current law limits the concept of shared renewable energy systems in service areas of rural electric co-ops to solar electric community arrays, or "gardens." This bill expands the types of eligible renewable energy systems to include small-scale wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass systems. Co-ops can use the power generated to meet their Renewable Energy Standard requirements.
Introduced 4/22, passed House 5/1, passed Senate 5/6. Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 5/19

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Energy Efficiency

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1132 Rep. Don Coram, Rep. KC Becker

Income tax credit for home energy efficiency upgrades
Creates an income tax credit of $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the level of energy savings, for home energy efficiency upgrades. Residents must obtain a home energy audit prior to making improvements, a post improvement inspection to determine the energy savings, and obtain a credit certificate from the Colorado Energy Office. The tax credit amount may be reduced if utility rebates or other incentives helped pay for the upgrades.

Introduced Jan. 22, passed House 4/15, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Finance 4/28
HB 1236 Rep. Faith Winter Income tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades in multi-family and commercial buildings and affordable housing projects.
Creates an income tax credit for energy efficiency improvements made to existing mutli-family housing, for renovations or new construction of multi-family or commercial buildings that achieve LEED or Green Globes certification, and for renovations or new construction of affordable housing that meets Enterprise Green Community efficiency standards.
Introduced 2/19, passed House 4/30, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Finance 5/1

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Financing

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 252 Sen. Michael Johnston, Sen. Kerry Donovan Energy Loans for School Energy Audits
Authorizes school districts that borrow from the Energy Efficiency for Schools Loan Program to use loan funds to conduct an energy audit to determine expected energy savings from proposed renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.
Introduced 3/24, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Finance 4/16

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Active Transportation

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1003 Rep. Max Tyler, Sen. Diane Mitsch Bush Funding for Safe Routes to School program
Provides up to $3 million in state funding for the 2015-16 fiscal year, and specifies that 20 to 30% of the funds be used for non-infrastructure programs.
Introduced 1/7, passed House 4/27, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/4
SB 81 Sen. Larry Crowder Use of Lottery Funds for Bicycle Trails
Expresses Legislative intent for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife and local governments to spend some of their lottery proceeds to build or expand recreational bicycle trails along state highways, county roads, and city streets.
Introduced 1/14, Postponed Indefinitely 1/29 by Senate Finance Committee

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Vehicle Efficiency and Alternative Fuels

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 134 Sen. Matt Jones, Rep. Max Tyler Clarifying fuel cost-saving contracts for government fleets
Clarifies that annual payments made for cost-saving contracts do not use funds that would otherwise be allocated for vehicle purchases, operations or maintenance. The bill also clarifies that total contract payments should be equal to or less than the vehicle life cycle costs during the whole term of the contract.
Introduced Jan. 28, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy 2/12
HB 1228 Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, Rep. Jon Becker, Sen. Ray Scott Changes to the fuel excise tax for liquefied petroleum gas (propane / LPG) used for transportation fuel
The bill makes 10 changes to rules governing the state's excise tax on LPG fuel, including imposing the tax only when LPG is pumped into a vehicle tank, eliminating a 2% allowance for loss in transit, and eliminating the $25,000 bond required for LPG distributors.
Introduced Feb. 17, passed House 4/27, passed Senate 5/4. Signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 6/5

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Water Efficiency

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1093 Rep. Tim Dore Repeal of 2014 Efficient Plumbing Fixture Standards
Repeals a prohibition enacted in 2014 that would bar the sales of plumbing fixtures, such as toilets, urinals, showerheads and lavatory faucets, that do not meet water-efficiency standards. The new standards will otherwise take effect on Sept. 1, 2016.
Introduced Jan. 14, Postponed Indefinitely 2/4 by House State, Veterans and Military Affairs
HB 1259 Rep. Daneya Esgar, Rep. Jessie Danielson, Sen. Mike Merrifield Allowing the collection of precipitation from home rooftops into a rain barrel
Amends state water law to allow households to collect rainfall from the downspouts of their home in up to 2 barrels with a combined storage capacity of up to 100 gallons. Collection is allowed at single-family homes and at multi-family buildings of up to 4 units. Water can only be used for lawn or garden irrigation.
Introduced March 4, passed House 3/23, died on the Senate floor 5/5

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Carbon Emissions

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 92 Sen. John Cooke, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg Legislative and PUC Approval for Colorado Carbon Emissions Plan
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required to formally adopt a state plan for the reduction of carbon emissions from utilities. The bill requires that the plan first be reviewed and approved by the Public Utilities Commission, impose no more than a 2% rate increase on utility customers, be approved by a two-thirds majority of the state House and Senate, and be subject to annual review by affected utilities.
Introduced 1/14, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 3/4
SB 258 Sen. John Cooke, Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg

Colorado Electric Consumers' Protection Act
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is required to formally adopt a state plan for the reduction of carbon emissions from utilities. The bill requires that the plan first be reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission for its impact on consumers, and requires the PUC to prepare a report summarizing the effects of the plan on rates, reliability and the state's economy. The bill also requires the plan to be approved by a majority vote in the state House and Senate.

Introduced 4/2, passed Senate 4/23, Postponed Indefinitely by House State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/4

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Energy Utilities

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB 120 Sen. Matt Jones, Rep. Faith Winter Electric Grid Modernization Plans
Requires all retail electric providers to develop a 10-year grid modernization plan that will optimize demand-side and supply-side management, implement advanced metering, and increase grid reliability through integration of distributed electric generation.
Introduced Jan. 26, Postponed Indefinitely 2/12 by Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy
HB 1250 Rep. Max Tyler, Sen. Matt Jones

Performance-Based Regulation of Investor-Owned Utilities
Declares that factors other than short-term costs should be considered in setting rates and policies of investor-owned utilities, such as long-term economic sustainability, efficiency of power generation, delivery and consumption, resiliency of energy generation resources, envisornmental factors such as water consumption and carbon emissions, and customer satisfaction.

The bill directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to open an investigatory proceeding to explore alternative utility revenue models and report its findings to the Legislature by Oct. 1, 2016.

Introduced 2/27, Postponed Indefinitely by House Appropriations 4/24
HB 1319 Rep. Daneya Esgar Public Utilities Commission Membership
Increases the size of the PUC board from the present three members to five, and apportions the membership as two statewide seats and one seat each representing the Western Slope, northeast and southeast Colorado.
Introduced 3/30, amended and passed House 5/1, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/4
HB 1330 Rep. Mike Foote Social Cost of Carbon in Electrical Generation Legislation
Requires Legislative Council to calculate and include the social cost of carbon emissions for any proposed legislation that is expected to cause a significant increase or decrease in the generation of electricity by utilities, from renewable or conventional fuel sources.
Introduced 4/1, Postponed Indefinitely by House Legislative Council Committee 4/24

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Solid Waste and Recycling

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1206 Rep. Jonathan Singer Sales and Use Tax Refund for Recycling Equipment or Machinery
Creates a refund for sales and use taxes for specific types of machinery or equipment used for the purpose of recycling or repurposing waste materials, for tax years 2015 through 2019. Types of equipment includes compactors, grinders, forklifts, balers, cutters, trucks, crshers, shears, end loaders, computers and replacement parts.
Introduced 2/3, passed by House Business Affairs and Labor 2/19, Postponed Indefinitely by House Finance 3/18

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