Colorado Legislative Recap ’21
Legislators Make Historic Gains on Climate Change Policies
The Colorado BlueGreen Alliance Table established a set of priority bills early in the session, engaging in each as a coalition. Each of the below Table priority bills was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
The BlueGreen Alliance supports Colorado as it leads in driving the clean energy revolution. Our Colorado coalition is energized by the progress made in creating and retaining family-sustaining jobs and addressing the climate crisis during the 2021 legislative session.
Here Are The Highlights:
“Buy Clean Colorado”.
Colorado made critical progress on “buy clean” provisions by passing HB21-1303 that will establish maximum acceptable standards for potentially global warming materials including asphalt, cement, concrete, glass, post-tension steel, reinforcing steel, structural steel, and wood structural elements used in public projects and further requires submittal of Environmental Product Declarations and preference in selection of low-emissions products in the construction of both horizontal (ex: roads) and vertical (ex: buildings) capital infrastructure projects.
Additional Funding For Just Transition.
The state legislature passed HB21-1290 to allocate $15M of one-time stimulus funding toward coal transition recommendations from the state’s Just Transition plan. The bill allocated $8 Million to provide supplemental funding, through existing state programs to assist coal communities – or to grant funds directly to priority community needs. The remaining $7 Million is designated for assistance programs that directly aid coal transition workers, and to a pilot program to test innovative coal transition work support programs. Funding establishment or expansion of apprenticeship programs in coal communities was also designated by the bill language.
Electric Utility Promote Beneficial Electrification.
SB21-246 will direct the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to establish energy savings targets and promote the use of energy-efficient electric equipment in place of less efficient systems. The bill creates an incentive program to help building owners who choose to upgrade to energy-efficient, modern appliances. It also ensures that complex commercial and industrial work will be done by qualified workers—including contractors, plumbers, and electricians—creating good jobs for Coloradoans while improving our environment and air quality.
Promote Innovative And Clean Energy Technologies.
HB21-1324 provides utilities the opportunity to now submit innovative, non-emitting power generation & storage technology to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration and rate recovery, as long as the technology is located in coal transition communities and creates local jobs and tax revenues.
Regulate Air Toxics.
The state legislature passed HB21-1189 that creates additional fence line monitoring requirements for large polluters and requires publishing pollution information online. This directive is to be updated and/or expanded at least every five years.
Public Utilities Commission Modernize Gas Utility Demand-Side Management Standards.
HB21-1238 will enhance natural gas utility demand-side management (DSM) programs to include the social cost of carbon as a metric of cost-effectiveness and expand the DSM incentive for consumers.
Defined Pumped Hydroelectricity As Renewable Energy.
HB21-1052 now allows new, off-stream, zero-emissions pumped hydro storage that does not violate state water quality standards or poses a threat to wildlife to now be included as an “eligible” source of recycled energy under the renewable energy standard statute, adding yet one more tool for Colorado to meet its clean energy goals.
Public Utilities Commission Modernize Electric Transmission Infrastructure.
The state legislature passed SB21-072, creating the Colorado Electric Transmission Authority (CETA) that will now require Colorado utilities to establish and join a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and establishes the rules by which an RTO will operate and construct new transmission infrastructure to assist Colorado in meeting its clean energy goals. Utilities are also required to incorporate strong labor standards in the construction or expansion of future transmission facilities.