The Second Regular Session of the Seventieth General Assembly of the State of Colorado convened on January 13, 2016. In a session expected to focus on controversial issues related to taxes, education, infrastructure, and construction defects, both the House and the Senate introduced new legislation addressing a variety of energy-related issues.
House Bill 16-1004 requires that Colorado’s Climate Plan include measurable goals the achievement of which will reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions or improve the state’s ability to adapt to climate change, as well as an analysis of progress made toward achieving such goals. The Colorado Climate Plan is likely to receive increased attention as the state develops its plan for complying with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
House Bill 16-1053 requires the state Division of Oil and Public Safety to promulgate rules concerning retail hydrogen fuel systems for vehicles. While this bill focuses on hydrogen as a transportation fuel, it follows the recently released U.S. Department of Energy’s report, “State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2015,” which described Colorado as “fast becoming a hot bed of energy and clean technology industries, including fuel cells and hydrogen.”
Senate Bill 16-007 would add a three-times multiplier to Colorado’s renewable energy standard for energy produced from forest materials biomass harvested from locations having a high wildfire potential. If enacted, this legislation offers the dual benefit of incentivizing an additional source of clean energy in Colorado while at the same time addressing the state’s perennial wildfire risks. It remains to be seen whether these benefits are sufficient to overcome potential resistance associated with increased competition among various clean energy power providers.
These first three energy-related bills are consistent with Colorado’s push to remain on the forefront of clean energy initiatives. It is likely that the General Assembly will consider other energy-related topics as the session progresses. Stay tuned for further updates.