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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

2009 CO Legislative Actions: Green Energy Bills


The Colorado legislature has been busy keeping Colorado’s New Energy Economy moving forward.  Recognizing the enormity of the risks climate change and foreign-supplied fossil fuels pose to Colorado’s health and safety, Democrats are pushing initiatives through that will benefit us all.  I tracked down the following bills that are or have been introduced in the Colorado legislature this year.  I’ve included basic descriptions of the bills to round out what’s going on. I’m going to go over the status of these bills in the future.

HB09-1149 “Solar Home Prewire And Consultation”, sponsored by Rep. Merrifield in the House and Sen. Morgan Carroll in the Senate would requires commercial home builders to offer prospective buyers the following:
1. The option of having the home include, or be pre-wired for, a solar photovoltaic installation; and

2. A list of local solar installers who can assess the home’s solar energy potential.

On a personal level, I’d rather see stronger language for increased solar power distribution in residences.  All houses should be pre-wired for solar PV.  There is simply too much infrastructure in Colorado’s metropolitan areas to not build solar PV out on a large scale.  Each panel would reduce the demand from GHG polluting power plants just that much more.  At the same time, I recognize that many people think these things probably need to be taken one step at a time.  The Governor’s Energy Office would maintain a list of expert solar system installers to be provided to anybody who requests a copy.  That’s a good idea.

More below…

HB09-1247 “Homebuyers’ Energy Right-To-Know Act”, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Apuan and Sen. John Morse, would, beginning in 2010, require the seller of an existing residence to provide the buyer with an energy billing history and usage history for the property for the immediately preceding 12 months or, if the seller did not own the property for 12 months, for the period of the seller’s ownership.

Having bought a house recently, I can attest that having this knowledge would be very useful for homebuyers.  It would have been a valuable detail when comparing properties.  Unfortunately, it would be another set of data (read: papers) that would have to be provided.  That would be an annoyance and not something very onerous.

SB09-098 “Tax Exempt Blended Diesel Products”, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz  and Rep. Ed Vigil, would permit dyed diesel fuel to be blended by a licensed distributor with biodiesel fuel after withdrawal at a terminal or refinery rack up to the maximum federally allowable blend and still retain its exemption from the special fuels tax.

SB09-171 “New Energy Jobs Program”, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz (staying busy, obviously), Reps. Nancy Todd and Ed Vigil (co-sponsored by Sens. Rollie Heath, Jennifer Veiga and Reps. Larry Liston, Buffie McFadyen, Joe Rice and Judy Solano), would permit funds available from the Colorado customized training program to be used to train potential employees, establish programs related to training, and help companies train employees for participation in Colorado’s new energy economy.

A short bill, this legislation opens the door to money for programs to train workers in the still nascent green economy.  If anything, I’d like to see some kind of reporting on numbers from this – how many workers received training as a result of these funds?  What does the employment picture look like and how has it changed?

SB09-124 “Extend Ag Energy-Related Projects”, sponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar and Rep. Ellen Roberts, would continue the appropriation of up to $500,000 to promote energy-related projects through the 2011 fiscal year.  This appropriation began in the state’s 2006 fiscal year and ran through this fiscal year.  I’m not up-to-date on what this appropriation has already done.  If I find out, I’ll be sure to provide an update to this post.

SB09-051“Renewable Energy Finance Act”, sponsored by Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Claire Levy, is sort of the opposite of SB09-171: where 09-171 is short, 09-051 is long and does quite a bit.  It does the following:

  • Amends the “Colorado Clean Energy Finance Program Act” to:
  1. Specifically include credit unions among the lenders that may make loans under the program; and
  2. Specifically include renewable energy developers and installers of solar panels and other renewable energy generation equipment among the contractors that may be certified under the program.
  • Authorizes the governor’s energy office, as administrator of the Colorado clean energy finance program, to develop and license the use of a “Clean & Green Colorado” logo and marketing materials for use by lenders and certified contractors under the program.
  • Clarifies that funding under the “Colorado Clean Energy Development Authority Act” is available for energy efficiency improvements to apartment buildings.  Removes an existing cap on the amount of loans. Increases the cap on the amount of loans guaranteed by the state treasurer by $10 million, from a maximum of $30 million to a maximum of $40 million.
  • Requires landlords to allow energy audits of rental properties if so requested by a tenant, at the tenant’s expense.
  • Creates a “Renewable Energy Suppliers Act”, substantially similar to the existing “Geothermal Heat Suppliers  Act”, to authorize and encourage the installation of renewable energy generation equipment on property owned by others, in exchange for future purchases of energy under power purchase agreements, assignments of utility rebates under the existing renewable energy standard statute, or both.
  • Directs the public utilities commission to require utilities to set aside a portion of their annual budget for rebates under the standard rebate offer program of “Amendment 37” for low-income utility customers.

The items in this bill make a lot of sense to me.  Credit unions should have been included as lenders in the first place; the same goes for renewable energy developers; I don’t see anything negative with raising the maximum amount guaranteed by the state; as a former apartment owner, I was amazed at how impossible it was to really improve the energy picture of my place – this bill takes one more step forward on getting a sizable segment of the population more involved; expanding renewable energy from purely geothermal for power purchase agreements makes a lot of sense – no barriers that I can think of should prevent one type of renewable energy from being included in them; low-income utility customers can use all the benefits they can get.

The following bills were identified, but I didn’t see a bill number given to them:

  • HB09-XXXX “K-12 School Loans” (Kerr)
  • HB09-XXXX “Alternative Fuel Vehicle Income Tax Credit” (Gagliardi)

With limited information, I can’t comment on these two bills.  I’ll keep an eye out for additional information.

Cross-posted at SquareState.

2007 & 2008 bills and sponsors (no links, no analysis) can be found in this post.


2 thoughts on “2009 CO Legislative Actions: Green Energy Bills

  1. I am in favor of consumer driven change, not government bills or mandates……that is where the automakers have gotten themselves in trouble.

  2. Consumers have been driving change. The fossil fuel industry has successfully co-opted the governmental support in favor of themselves. Consumers have been looking for the freedom to make choices and have been stymied for a long time.

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