Climate and Clean Energy

As our clean air and climate protections are being threatened from the national level, it’s up to states to take the lead. This year, Colorado legislators had several opportunities to protect public health, address climate change, and advance clean energy.

Energy Storage: The New Frontier

This year we saw two important victories that will move clean energy forward in Colorado, and they were both related to energy storage! Storing energy in batteries for later use is vital technology to expand our use of clean energy.

Energy storage has bipartisan support at the state Capitol. The idea is that people, businesses, and utilities can utilize different storage methods to make sure our grid runs smoothly even when using intermittent energy sources like wind and solar. The bills that passed make energy storage a right for Coloradans (SB 009) and direct the Public Utilities Commission to consider energy storage in future planning (HB 1270). These new laws will boost renewable energy and move Colorado closer to our clean energy goals.

An added bonus of energy storage is that it allows Coloradans to take energy into our own hands. People can store energy from solar panels or wind turbines at their own homes, allowing them freedom over their own energy supply.

Bills Tracked

HB 1274, Reducing Statewide Carbon Pollution

This bill would have set a statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution across our economy by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels, a goal that is in line with Governor Hickenlooper’s climate commitments. This bill would have helped Colorado play our part in limiting climate change as well as drive innovation and investment in clean energy and new technology.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Representatives KC Becker and Jeff Bridges, Senator Andy Kerr

House Vote: Passed 36-28

Senate: Failed in State Affairs Committee

SB 009, Allow Electric Utility Customers to Install Energy Storage Equipment

This bill makes Colorado one of the first states to declare energy storage a right for consumers. It allows Coloradans to install and use energy storage on their property without unnecessary restrictions—in turn, boosting the state’s renewable market and jobs. Energy storage for consumers promotes grid resiliency and distributes resources like batteries across the energy system.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Senators Stephen Fenberg and Kevin Priola, Representatives Faith Winter and Polly Lawrence

House Vote: Passed 45-18

Senate Vote: Passed 30-5

Signed by the Governor: March 22, 2018

SB 226, Prohibit Colorado Involvement in Climate Alliance

This bill would have prohibited Colorado from taking part in any state-level climate collaboration that attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This was a backwards measure to prevent Colorado from being involved in the U.S. Climate Alliance, which Governor Hickenlooper signed onto in 2017. The Climate Alliance is a set of voluntary goals that a group of states committed to when President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Pro-Environment Vote: NO

Bill Sponsors: Senators Kevin Lundberg and John Cooke, Representative Yeulin Willett

Senate Vote: Passed 18-17

House: Failed in Transportation Committee

SB 005, Rural Economic Advancement Of Colorado Towns

Four years in the making, the “REACT” bill supports rural communities impacted by economic downturn, like a big industry leaving. The bill provides much-needed coordination and resources for state agencies to assist rural communities. It does this by designating a specific state agency, the Department of Local Affairs, to coordinate economic assistance.

Pro-Environment Vote: YES

Bill Sponsors: Senators Kerry Donovan and Ray Scott, Representative Dylan Roberts

House Vote: Passed 36-22

Senate Vote: Passed 22-13

Signed by the Governor: March 22, 2018

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