June-July 2021

The Colorado legislature this year took historic actions to address the looming climate change emergency by passing more than a dozen bills designed to encourage energy efficiency, promote renewable energy, clean up pollution, and address environmental justice.

Below is a summary of some of the most notable bills. New Energy Colorado's partner, the Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA), worked on some of this legislation. And the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) Policy Committee worked on most of these bills by writing letters and testifying. Thus, this is a good time to let you know that CRES will become a partner of the Solar CitiSuns newsletter, distributing the content to its members and supporters throughout Colorado. We share many of the same goals and together we will be a stronger voice for Colorado’s clean energy future.
Making Buildings Cleaner

This year marked the biggest push yet to control the energy used in buildings, which use 43% of the energy consumed in Colorado. Much of that energy is in the form of fossil fuel gases, which emit huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. A push to transition some of that energy to electricity, which can be generated through clean solar and wind sources, picked up steam this year. HB21-1238 will modernize gas energy efficiency programs of regulated utilities and require that the cost of methane be factored into cost projections. It is expected to make alternatives such as heat pumps, solar thermal technology and energy efficiency upgrades eligible for rebates.
SB21-246 will create a new “Beneficial Electrification’’ program for regulated utilities. It is expected to include market development and education programs, along with incentives. HB21-1286 will require larger commercial buildings to benchmark their energy use, and poorly performing buildings to perform upgrades. SB21-264 requires gas utilities to meet clean heat targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
Together they are expected to make a big difference in cleaning up buildings and offering consumers cleaner choices of energy!
Promoting More Renewable Energy

The legislature took big steps towards eliminating some of the hurdles for consumers who want to go solar.
SB21-261 removes most of the limits on the size of customer-sited solar systems, includes energy storage as a renewable energy resource, and makes it easier for landlords and tenants to go solar. HB 21-1284 tightens the limitations on what local governments can charge to permit and inspect on-site solar systems and battery storage systems, and includes state permitting agencies. HB21-1253 provides funding to local governments for renewable and clean energy projects, while SB21-230 transfers $40 million to the Colorado Energy Office for clean energy work. SB21-272 modernizes the Public Utilities Commission and provides greater transparency. SB21-072 creates an electric transmission authority to make it easier for Colorado to meet clean energy goals and requires transmission utilities to join organized wholesale markets. And HB21-1180 directs the state forest service to study how to increase biomass utilization throughout Colorado. 

Moving To Cut Emissions

A compromise was reached between Democratic lawmakers and Governor Polis on a measure to give more teeth to the Air Quality Control Commission. The commission is charged with enforcing the state’s roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. HB21-1266 allows the commission to enforce emissions reductions in the industrial, manufacturing, electric-utility and oil and gas sectors. But under the compromise, the transportation and construction sectors were left out of the enforcement power. The bill also creates an environmental justice task force to recommend and promote incorporating environmental justice and equity in state action. It would enhance the ability of vulnerable communities to file complaints about the impacts of pollution.
Meanwhile, HB21-1189 provides additional public health protections against toxic air pollutants.

HB21-1269 authorizes a study of Community Choice Energy, which would allow communities to buy electricity from a supplier other than the current monopoly provider. CCE has the potential to enable communities to meet their renewable energy goals and reduce their rates by allowing competition and local control over the energy mix.
In-Person Metro Denver Home Tour Returns October 2!
We are delighted to return to an in-person home tour where you can visit some of the most energy and water wise homes in metro Denver on October 2.

The Chaffee County home tour returns in Salida September 11 and in Buena Vista September 12.

In the meantime, you can learn how to save money on your energy and water bills by visiting the 16 locations on the virtual Metro Denver Green Homes Tour.

Explore energy-saving technologies in action including solar electricity from PV panels, solar heat from thermal panels, air source and ground source heat pumps, and state-of-the-art efficiency measures. You can find tips for your home by watching videos and listening to expert lectures from top pros.

Join Our Community and Take Action!
Solar CitiSuns are people who want to join together to help transform the energy landscape by advocating for solar energy and other clean energy sources for the future. It is free, quick and easy to sign up! By joining our community, you can keep informed and join others in taking action.

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Other Upcoming Events

Metro Denver CRES: Kinetic Batteries: Our Journey to Enable Electrification for the Masses
Thursday, June 17, 2021
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM MDT
Northern Colorado CRES :Electrified and Equitable? EV Adoption & Equitable Access to Transportation
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM MDT

Three Stories We Think You'll Want to Read

Energy Tips: From Cheap to Steep
Staying Cool in the Summer

Our cheapest form of keeping cool in the summer starts with sweating. Sweating cools the body down and maintains its operating temperature. Sweating prevents us from overheating and heat stroke.
Because white reflects and black absorbs, white clothing will keep you cooler. A white car, including the roof, will stay cooler.
A white home exterior surface, including the roof, will stay cooler. Inside the home, LED lightbulbs, inductive stove tops , swamp coolers and the highest SEER-42 rated mini-splits will keep the temperature down.

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Produced for New Energy Colorado by Rebecca Cantwell