I got behind the news late last week and into the weekend, so this the first of two roundups of items I saw.
State Representative Sara Gagliardi (D-JeffCo) introduced a bill (HB09-1331) that promotes low-emitting cars and trucks. It makes changes to the existing tax credit for purchases of vehicles using alternative fuels, for purchase of idling reduction technologies or for conversion of vehicles to use alternative fuels. I heard a segment on the Ed Schultz show earlier this afternoon about an idling technology that I’ll have to look into. It sounded like it would reduce the amount of fuel burned from 1 gallon per hour during idling to 1 gallon per 20 hours, but I could have heard the improved ratio incorrectly.
Colorado Gov. Ritter signed SB09-51 last week, and which I first wrote about a couple of months ago. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Claire Levy. It allows a third party installer to own the renewable energy equipment installed on residential property and sell the power to the consumer without being considered to be a utility. This will enable the installer to finance the renewable energy equipment on behalf of the consumer by being paid back in the form of payment for the energy generated by the equipment.
This is another good step in the direction of growing Colorado’s New Energy Economy. The biggest impediment to more widespread installation of renewable energy infrastructure is the large up-front capital costs. If consumers want access to renewable energy, impediments should be removed wherever possible. To boot, this avoids the over-used complaint that pro-fossil fuelers have about the government intruding into the marketplace. It’s hypocritical (fossil fuels receive billions in tax breaks from the government every year – talk about intrusion) and makes little sense for the still nascent renewable energy industry. This bill is another effort to create and sustain good paying green jobs and green entrepreneurial efforts.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Gov. Bill Ritter announced a $100,000 donation from the Democratic National Convention’s 2008 Host Committee for New Energy Economy carbon-offset projects on Earth Day. The Colorado Carbon Fund, established by the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), will direct the donation to support new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado. The Colorado Carbon Fund lists the following initial set of projects that they direct monetary donations toward:
- Anaerobic digestion projects
- Biomass projects
- Commercial solar hot water heater installations
- Energy efficiency projects with direct emissions reductions, such as co-generation
- Transportation-related projects
Gov. Ritter signed SB09-039, the Conserve Energy Tiered Rates Incentive bill. It was sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Kathleen Curry. The bill authorizes cooperative electric associations to approve revenue-neutral, reasonable rates, charges, services, classifications, and facilities that establish a graduated rate for increased energy consumption by residential customers. It also allows associations to utilize a community energy fund for energy efficiency, energy conservation, weatherization, and renewable energy purposes. This presents an interesting approach to energy usage. If I’m reading it correctly, those who use more pay more. That creates an incentive to use less energy. As I’ve described many times, using less energy is pretty straightforward – the biggest gains can be made by energy efficiency measures. Combined with other legislation at the state and federal levels, consumers should have an easier time the next couple years moving toward energy efficiency technologies and equipment.
Gov. Ritter signed SB09-0177, the New Solar Facility Property Tax Valuation bill. It was sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz and Rep. Ed Vigil. This bill specifies that for purposes of property taxation, solar energy generation facilities where (1) energy production begins on or after January 1, 2009, and (2) generation capacity is more than 2 megawatts, be valued using the income approach. This means that the actual value will be based on the projected gross revenue of such facilities, due to high capital construction costs, variability on production capabilities.
Cross-posted at SquareState.