2017 Colorado Legislature clean energy bills

Quick jump to topics: Colorado Energy Office Reauthorization | Climate Policy | Energy Efficiency | Renewable Energy

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Last updated May 26, 2017

The 2017 legislative session opened Jan. 11, 2017, and adjourned May 10, 2017.

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB17-301 Sen. Ray Scott

Energy-related Statutes (Colorado Energy Office reauthorization)
Sweeping legislation that would fund the Colorado Energy Office for the next three years, end certain programs that are underused or have fulfilled their objectives, and open the door for investor-owned utilities to produce and store natural gas. Details include:

Directs the Colorado Energy Office to promote nuclear and hydroelectric power along with other clean energy fuels.

Repeals the Wind for Schools grant program, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Schools loan program, the Green Building Incentive pilot program, and the Colorado Clean Energy Finance loan program.

Withdraws the Colorado Energy Office from collaborative work with other state and federal agencies to promote woody biomass, and to develop a central resource for the building trades.

Ends work by the Colorado Energy Office to maintain a directory of certified solar installers and to conduct a study on alternative fuel truck emissions.

Outsources management of Colorado Carbon Fund license plates to Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit.

Raises the annual licensing fee for electric vehicles to $85 from the current $50.

Makes changes to the residential PACE statute similar to those sought in HB 1363.

In the news:

Denver Business Journal, May 11, 2017
Legislature dismantles Colorado Energy Office

Associated Press, May 3, 2017
Colorado bill would extend, change energy office’s mandate

Introduced 4/26, amended and passed Senate 5/9, amended and passed House 5/10, Senate declines to accept House amendments.

Reauthorization of the Colorado Energy Office dies for lack of positive action.

HB 1373 Reps. Jeff Bridges and Chris Hansen General Fund transfers for Colorado Energy Office cash funds
Makes a one-year transfer for fiscal year 2017-2018 of $3.1 million from the state General Fund to two funds managed by the Colorado Energy Office:
  • $1.6 million to the Clean and Renewable Energy Fund, which was repealed as of Jan. 1, 2017.
  • $1.5 million to the Innovative Energy Fund, replacing an off-the-top Severance Tax Trust Fund transfer, which was set for repeal on July 1, 2017.
Introduced 5/5, Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/9

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1366 Reps. Faith Winter and Jeni James Arndt

Measurable Goals and Deadlines for a Colorado Climate Action Plan
Requires the state Climate Action Plan to:

  • Include specific, measurable goals, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the state’s adaptive capability to respond to climate change.
  • Set and reach near-term, mid-term, and long-term deadlines to achieve the goals.

Requires the annual climate report to the General Assembly to include an analysis of the progress made in meeting the measurable goals and deadlines specified in the plan.

Introduced 4/27, passed House 5/8, Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/8

Energy Efficiency

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB17-1116 Rep. Tony, Exum, Rep. Millie Hamner, Sen. Beth Humenik

Continue Low-income Household Energy Assistance
Current law provides that the Department of Human Services Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund, the Energy Outreach Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund, and the Colorado Energy Office Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund receive conditional funding from the Severance Tax Operational Fund through the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The bill removes the automatic repeal, which means that these funds will be eligible for this conditional funding indefinitely.

Introduced 1/20, passed House 3/9,
passed Senate 5/10, sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature 5/22

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Renewable Energy

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
SB17-179 Sen. Bob Gardner, Sen. Andy Kerr, Rep. Lang Sias, Rep. Leslie Herod

Local Government Fee Limits For Solar Energy Device Installations
Extends the current repeal date of July 1, 2018, for existing laws that limit the amount of permit, plan review, or other fees that counties, municipalities, or the state may charge for installing solar energy devices or systems to July 1, 2025.
The bill also clarifies that the statutory limitations on the amount of fees applies to any related or associated fees, not just to permit or plan review fees.

Introduced 2/14, passed Senate 3/1, passed House 4/3,
signed by
Gov. John Hickenlooper 4/28

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 17-1363 Reps. Chris Hansen and Beth Martinez Humenik

Exemption from Certain PACE Requirements If Homeowner Is Not Seeking to Subordinate Lien
Current law authorizes a homeowner to finance certain energy efficiency improvements to the home through a loan pursuant to the property assessed clean energy (PACE) program. The program requires an applicant to file a title commitment on the home, and a hearing must be held in order to seek a voluntary subordination of existing liens to the program's junior lien.

The bill exempts a homeowner from the title commitment and hearing requirements if the owner is not seeking to subordinate the priority of existing liens.

Introduced 4/26, amended and passed House 5/8, passed Senate 5/10, sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature 5/22

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Alternative Fuels

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB17-1232 Rep. Jessie Danielson, Sen. Kevin Priola

Public Utilities Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles
In an existing provision that authorizes electric and natural gas utilities to provide motor vehicle electric charging or CNG fueling stations as unregulated services, the bill authorizes public utilities to provide these services as regulated or unregulated services and allows cost recovery.

The bill allows a utility to apply to build facilities to support alternative fuel vehicles. Standards are set for approval. When a facility is built, the rate and charges for the services:

  • May allow a return on any investment made by an electric public utility at the electric public utility's most recent rate of return on equity approved by the commission;
  • May allow a return on any investment made by a natural gas public utility at the utility's weighted average cost of capital at the public utility's most recent rate of return on equity approved by the commission; and
  • Must be recovered from all customers of an electric or natural gas public utility in a manner that is similar to the recovery of distribution system investments.
Introduced 3/7, passed House 4/17, Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee 4/26
SB17-188 Sen. Vicki Marble

Repeal Income Tax Credit Innovative Motor Vehicles
The bill would bring an early end to the state’s alt-fuels vehicle tax credits, which apply to vehicles using EV, CNG, LNG and LPG fuel. Under current law, the tax credits taper down over the coming years and expire at the end of 2021.

The Senate Finance Committee amended SB 188 to extend CNG and propane tax credits through 2019. All other tax credits would expire Dec. 31, 2017.

In the news: New York Times, March 12, 2017
Behind the Quiet State-by-State Fight Over Electric Vehicles

Introduced 2/14, passed & amended Senate Finance 2/28,
passed & amended Senate Appropriations 4/6, Senate floor vote laid over to 5/11.
Bill dies for lack of positive action.

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Energy Utilities

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB17-1225 Rep. Chris Hansen

Electric Regional Transmission Organization Hearing
A regional transmission organization is an independent electric transmission operator that provides wholesale transmission services to more than one provider of retail electric service within a defined geographic region, by pooling together transmission assets into a single electricity transmission market from which participating retail electric service providers may purchase wholesale transmission services.

The bill directs the Transportation Legislation Review Committee to conduct a hearing during the 2017 interim on the effects that participation in a regional transmission organization would have on electric providers, their ratepayers, and Colorado's market for renewable energy. The hearing must take place on or before Dece. 1, 2017.

Introduced 3/6, amended and passed House 4/17, Postponed indefinitely by Senate Committee on Legislative Council 4/28
HB17-1227 Rep. Faith Winter, Rep. Polly Lawrence, Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Sen. Kevin Priola

Electric Demand-side Management Program Extension
To promote demand-side management programs for electricity, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission was authorized in 2007 to establish the following electricity goals for investor-owned electric utilities to achieve by 2018:

  • A demonstrated reduction of peak demand by at least 5% of the retail peak demand level in 2006.
  • Demonstrated energy savings of at least 5% compared to the energy sales in 2006.

The bill extends the programs to 2028 and requires the PUC to set goals of at least 5% peak demand reduction and 5% energy savings by 2028 for demand-side management programs implemented during 2019 through 2028, when compared to 2018 numbers.

Introduced In House 3/6, Passed House 4/4, passed Senate 5/9, signed by
Gov. John Hickenlooper 5/18
HB17-1299 Reps. James Coleman and Chris Hansen

Transportation Legislation Review Committee Interim Hearing on Electric Utility Energy Storage
Directs the Transportation Legislation Review Committee to conduct a hearing during 2017 on the potential economic and social benefits and costs of requiring the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to determine the appropriate targets, if any, for the amount of viable and cost-effective energy storage systems (such as batteries, heat sinks, or pumped-storage hydroelectric systems) that an electric utility should incorporate into its electric resource acquisition plans. Applies only to utilities subject to Colorado's renewable energy standard.

Introduced 3/27, amended and passed by House 4/17,
Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs 4/26
SB17-089 Sen. Stephen Fenberg

Allow Electric Utility Customers Install Energy Storage Equipment
Declares that consumers of electricity have a right to install and use electricity storage systems on their property to enhance reliability and efficiency of the electric grid, save money, and reduce the need for additional electric generation facilities.

The bill directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules governing these electricity storage systems.

Introduced 1/18, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Business, Labor, & Technology 2/18

SB17-105 Sen. Leroy Garcia, Rep. K.C. Becker, Rep. Daneya Esgar

Consumer Right To Know Electric Utility Charges
Requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide their customers with a comprehensive breakdown of cost on their monthly bills.

Introduced 1/27, passed Senate 2/23, passed House 4/19,
signed by
Gov. John Hickenlooper 5/22
SB17-145 Sen. Stephen Fenberg, Rep. Mike Foote

Electric Utility Distribution Grid Resource Acquisition Plan
Directs specified electric utilities to prepare, and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to review, proposals to integrate distributed energy resources into utilities’ plans to acquire new infrastructure.

“Distributed energy resources” is defined to include renewable distributed generation facilities, such as rooftop solar, energy storage facilities, electric vehicles, and other features of an improved and diversified electrical grid architecture.

Introduced 1/31, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Energy 2/15
SB17-252 Sen. Jack Tate

Utility Cost-saving Contract For Local Governments
Current law allows boards of political subdivisions to enter into energy cost-savings contracts for utility cost savings. Utility cost savings are defined in law to include an installation, modification, or service that is designed to reduce energy consumption and related operating costs in buildings and other facilities.

SB 252 specifies that the boards may also enter into energy cost-savings contracts for increasing meter accuracy, which is defined as a utility cost-savings measure.

The bill also changes the definition of "operation and maintenance cost savings" to clarify that the calculation must be made on a net basis.

Introduced 3/16, passed Senate 3/31, passed House 4/28, sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature 5/11
SB 271 Sen. John Cooke, Rep. Dan Pabon Investor-owned Utility Cost Recovery Transparency
Requires investor-owned utilities to develop a transparent process for recovering actual costs from a property owner for extending utility service to the property.
Introduced 3/29, passed Senate 4/26, passed House 5/3, sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature 5/18

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Energy Workforce

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1339 Rep. Daneya Esgar, Rep. Chris Hansen

Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Act
Authorizes any investor-owned utility to seek a financing order from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission allowing the utility to issue bonds backed by a separate charge on customer bills. The bond funding would be used to lower the cost to electric utility customers when the utility retires a power plant.

A portion of bond proceeds would also be used fund transition assistance for Colorado workers and communities directly affected by the retirement of the facilities, including fuel-producing communities. HB 1339 creates the Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Authority, a seven-member board that would govern and manage the transition assistance funding.

Introduced 4/13, passed House 5/1, Postponed indefinitely by Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs 5/3

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Transportation and Transit

Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB 1018 Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush,
Rep. Larry Liston,
Sen. Bob Gardner
Extend Voter Approval Window For RTA Regional Transportation Authority Mill Levy
Current law authorizes a regional transportation authority, such as RFTA, to seek voter approval for a uniform mill levy of up to 5 mills on all taxable property within its territory until Jan. 1, 2019. The bill extends the authorization to Jan. 1, 2029.
Passed by the House and Senate, signed by Gov. Hickenlooper 3/1
HB17-1242 Rep. Crisanta Duran, Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, Sen. Kevin Grantham

New Transportation Infrastructure Funding Revenue
Requires a ballot question to be submitted to voters in November that seeks approval for the state to increase the rate of the state sales and use tax for 20 years, beginning in 2018. If voters approve the sales and use tax rate increase, the new revenue generated would be used for transportation infrastructure funding. Specific projects to be funded must be included in the 2017 ballot information booklet provided to voters, as follows:

  • $300 million annually to the state highway fund for use by the Colorado Department of Transportation
  • Of the remaining new revenue:
    • 70% to counties and municipalities in equal total amounts
    • 30% to a newly created Multimodal Transportation Options Fund.
Introduced In House 3/8, passed House 3/31, amended and passed Senate Transportation 4/11,
Postponed indefinitely by Senate Finance 4/25
SB 278 Sen. Don Coram, Rep. Joann Ginal

Prohibit Nuisance Exhibition Motor Vehicle Exhaust
Prohibits motorists from engaging in a nuisance exhibition of knowingly blowing black smoke through its exhaust pipes in a manner that obstructs or obscures the view of another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. Violation would be a class A traffic infraction, punishable by a fine of $100.

Introduced 3/31, passed Senate 4/19, passed House 5/2, sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper for signature 5/15

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB17-1151 Rep. Yeulin Willett, Rep. Chris Hansen, Sen. Andy Kerr, Sen. Owen Hill

Electrical Assisted Bicycles Regulation Operation
Section 1
defines 3 classes of electrical assisted bicycles, depending on top speed and whether the electric motor assists in propulsion only while the rider is pedaling or propels the bicycle independently.
Sections 2 and 3 make technical and conforming amendments.
Section 4 requires manufacturers to label electrical assisted bicycles as class 1, class 2, or class 3, and prohibits modifying an electrical assisted bicycle without also relabeling it. Section 4 also requires all electrical bicycles to comply with federal Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements, and to be equipped with braking systems and speedometers.

Section 5

  • Gives local governments the authority to allow or prohibit the use of specified classes of electrical assisted bicycles on pedestrian paths and bike paths.
  • Prohibits children under the age of 16 from riding a class 3 electrical assisted bicycle except as a passenger.
  • For class 3 electrical assisted bicycles, requires all riders under 18 to wear a helmet certified by the CPSC or the American Society for Testing Materials
  • Specifies that noncompliance with the helmet law does not constitute negligence or negligence per se in a lawsuit seeking damages.
Passed House 2/23, passed Senate 3/22,
House repasses with Senate amendments 3/27,
signed by
Gov. John
Hickenlooper 4/4
SB17-093 Sen. A. Kerr

Operation of Bicycles Approaching Intersections
The bill permits a person riding a bicycle or electrical assisted bicycle to pass through a roadway intersection without stopping at a stop sign if the cyclist slows to a reasonable speed, yields to vehicles and pedestrians, and can safely proceed or make a turn.

Introduced 1/18, Postponed Indefinitely by Senate Transportation 2/7

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status
HB17-1275 Rep. Faith Winter, Sen. Kevin Priola Increase Solid Waste Diversion
Directs the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Office of Economic Development to assist in increasing waste diversion in Colorado by establishing diversion goals, requiring data collection and reporting by counties and landfills, and providing technical assistance to counties and landfills regarding the data collection and reporting.
Introduced 3/17,
passed House 4/27,
Postponed indefinitely Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs 5/1

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Bill No. Sponsors Title and description Status