October 2022
Greetings,
Our fall Green Home Tours in both metro Denver and Chaffee County were big successes- helping hundreds of CitiSuns explore ways to save money, energy and water in their own homes. We thank those of you who were able to participate, along with the many sponsors, vendors and volunteers who made it all happen. See photos here and you can always visit some of the area's most sustainable homes at your leisure through our virtual tour here.
This month, we take a look at a concept that is catching on in Colorado and under study by regulators- Community Choice Energy. A hearing on October 18 offers you a chance to weigh in on the idea, which has taken root in California.
We also offer some resources for navigating how you might benefit from the home provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.
And please, don't forget the election this fall! Your vote really matters on issues of energy, climate and so much more! If you can spare a few hours to volunteer, it can make a difference.
Sunny regards,
Rebecca Cantwell 
for New Energy Colorado

p.s. Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues and let us know what else you would like to read about by emailing us here
Community Choice Energy Would Introduce Competition to Colorado Energy Markets

An effort is underway in Colorado to bring consumers more choice in their supply of wholesale electricity through a concept called Community Choice Energy (CCE). A law authorizing a study passed in 2021, and on October 18 the Colorado Public Utilities Commission is holding a public comment hearing where you can express your views.
 
Utilities owned by investors such as Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy hold a monopoly on the supply and delivery of energy to their customers. Communities could seek better deals on behalf of their residents and businesses if they had the chance to access the market and purchase alternate supplies of wholesale electricity. Communities could also take over energy efficiency programs typically run by utilities and seek lower-cost and more innovative approaches.
 
Backers believe that CCE could speed the transition to clean power supplies at lower cost by offering a market-based approach that introduces competition into wholesale electricity supplies. In California, almost 50 communities have already reached their 100% renewable energy goals and most of them are CCEs, according to the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy argue such an option is unnecessary with Xcel urging decision makers not to “upend the apple cart.’’
 
You can register and participate in the hearing via Zoom or watch it on the PUC website.
Tuesday, October 18, 4pm – 6pm
 PUC: HRG: 22I-0027E Study of Community Choice for Wholesale Electric Supply
 
Public Hearing signup: 
Public Hearing zoom link (participants): 
Public Hearing webcast (watch only)
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INFLATION REDUCTION ACT: When Will Benefits Become Available?
The new Inflation Reduction Act will offer a wealth of programs to help homeowners save energy on their homes and reduce carbon emissions. Many of the programs will not be available until the federal Department of Energy finishes developing guidance, and until state agencies including the Colorado Energy Office launch programs. The revised tax incentives begin on January 1. This is a good time to get familiar with some of the potential savings and to start planning your home improvements. Here are some of the major programs for homeowners:

Home Energy Performance Whole House Rebates (HOMES): This $4.3 billion program will be operated by state energy offices to provide rebates for retrofit packages based on reduced home energy use.
High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program: This $4.3 billion program will also be run by state energy offices and will provide rebates to low and moderate income households to install heat pumps and other efficient electric equipment.
Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit: This long-standing federal tax credit offers help for home energy improvements such as insulation, windows, heat pumps, and furnaces. Starting in 2023, IRA increases the credit to 30% of cost, with an annual cap of $1,200 and with smaller limits for most items but it allows up to $2,000 for a heat pump or a wood stove. (In 2022 the credit is under the old rules, with lower amounts and a lifetime cap of $500.) The credit is taken on tax returns.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: This is a $27 billion set of programs to be run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The programs will provide competitive grants to states, tribes, cities, and nonprofit organizations who in turn provide financial and technical assistance for projects to reduce or avoid GHG emissions and other forms of air pollution.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy published an excellent policy brief with much more detail. Read it here
The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS are seeking opinions from the public about how to implement the climate and clean energy tax provisions. You can weigh in here
The Solar Energy Industries Association has a fact sheet on the solar energy provisions here

We'll provide updates on programs, rebates and incentives as they become available.
These are some images from the Metro Denver Green Homes Tour Oct. 1, and below, from the Chaffee County tour. Thanks to the hundreds of CitiSuns who participated in learning about green home and electric vehicle technologies!

Photos: Dave Bowden/SustainableMedia.net
Hundreds Enjoy Green Homes Tour
Electric Car Roundup
Upcoming Events

WED, OCT 12 · 7:00 PM - Boulder CRES event -- More info here
Beneficial Electrification 101: Solar Thermal and Clean Heating Technologies with Laurent Meillon

THU, OCT 20 · 7:00 PM - Metro Denver CRES event - More info here
More Housing, Less Carbon with Chris Miller

TUE, OCT 25 · 7:00 PM - Northern Colorado CRES event- More info here
PRPA Update on Distributed Energy and Integrated Resource Planning

THU, OCT 27 · 7:00 PM - Jeffco CRES Event - More info here
NREL’s Global Clean Energy Work with Rob Benioff
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