By Vince Calvano
The 2023 Legislative Session in Colorado ended earlier in May, and the CRES Policy Committee reviewed many renewable energy, energy efficiency, and related environmental bills that came out of this session. While the Policy Committee has worked directly with some legislators on renewable energy-related legislation, none of those bills came out this session, but we'll continue looking for more opportunities in the future.
The majority of our work this session involved pouring over important bills, and CRES Policy sent out 3 action alerts and testified numerous times through written letters of support (or opposition) on many bills. Many different Policy members stepped up to help craft these letters once the Committee decided to support or oppose. The letters were both emailed to the bill sponsors, and the legislative hearing committee members, as well as filed as written testimony. The CRES Legislative Activities Tracker provides much more detail on all of the bills that the CRES Policy Committee reviewed this session.
One of the more important bills that CRES weighed in on was, SB23-016: GHG Emissions Reduction Measures that updates CO GHG emissions reductions goals to 50% by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050, and requires PERA to publish a report on climate change-related investment risks. CRES Policy supported the bill, but asked for an amendment to Section 9 of the bill (was originally a different section number) regarding carbon sequestration and storage. This section allows the CO Oil and Gas Commission to regulate injection wells once it has studied the subject and held public hearings and puts financial assurance and other regulatory assurances in place.
Another was HB23-1210, concerning funding carbon management projects in CO and the creation of a carbon management roadmap. CRES asked for action regarding amending the Roadmap provision to require a study of public health and safety considerations, including avoiding risks from exposure to carbon dioxide gas and induced siesmicity..
CRES also sent out an action alert on Senate Bill 23-198 regarding Clean Energy Plans. This bill passed and now requires that CO clean energy plans must reach interim targets to ensure reductions in GHGs are occurring at the needed levels. This bill will significantly increase the chances that CO's clean energy goals can actually be met.
The CRES Policy Committee is also active before the CO Public Utilities Commission, and weighs in on other RE/EE policy-related matters throughout the state, such as sending in a letter to Holy Cross Energy regarding their new rate proposal/ change to net metering policy.
CRES intervened in two Xcel Energy (aka PSCo) proceedings at the PUC. One was the latest PSCo Electric Resource Plan (21A-0141E) where CRES had 5 witnesses provide testimony on numerous aspects of the Electric Resource Plan. CRES also intervened in PSCo's latest Demand Side Management and Beneficial Electrification Strategic Issues Proceeding (22A-0309EG). CRES put forward two witnesses in this proceeding and the Commission is in the middle of deliberating a final decision on the matter (second deliberation meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 26th). After the oral deliberations, there will be a written order.
Our friends at Empower Our Future had a great legislative recap from a few CO legislators via zoom Check that out on YouTube.