The Colorado General Assembly wrapped up its 2022 legislative session on May 11, 2022. In our February newsletter, we provided an overview of energy-related bills as of February 8, 2022. At that time, only a handful of energy-related bills had been proposed. But by the end of the session, the legislature considered almost 20 bills related to energy, environmental protection, and air quality. This update highlights some of the final bills that were passed and some that were not.
Energy-Related Bills That Passed
Many of the bills passed this session are aimed at furthering clean energy development in Colorado. Here are some of the highlights:
- House Bill 22-1381, Colorado Energy Office Geothermal Energy Grant Program: This bill creates a geothermal energy grant program to facilitate the development of geothermal heating systems and geothermal electricity generation.
- Senate Bill 22-118, Encourage Geothermal Energy Use: This bipartisan bill seeks to encourage the use of geothermal energy by providing regulatory treatment similar to that afforded solar energy. Among other provisions, the bill requires the Colorado energy office to develop basic consumer education and guidance about leased or purchased geothermal installation, in consultation with industries that offer these options to consumers.
- Senate Bill 22-110, Equip Wind Turbine Aircraft Detection Lighting System: This bill requires an owner or operator of certain wind-powered energy generation facilities to equip them with an aircraft detection lighting system.
- House Bill 22-1362, Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions: This bill updates the state’s minimum energy code requirements. Among other things, the bill requires the creation of the building electrification for public buildings grant program, creating the high-efficiency electric heating and appliances grant program, and establishing the clean air building investments fund.
- House Bill 22-1355, Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling: This bill requires companies that sell consumer-facing packaging to join a producer responsibility organization, which in turn would charge fees to fund a statewide recycling system.
Energy-Related Bills That Failed
One of the more prominent energy-related bills to fail in the 2022 legislative session was Senate Bill 22-138, titled Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Colorado. This bill concerned measures to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by, among other things, incentivizing people to buy electric lawn equipment. It also included measures directed at streamlining carbon capture and sequestration projects in Colorado, including giving the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission authority to issue and enforce Class VI injection wells used for sequestration of greenhouse gases.
In addition, two of the bills mentioned in our February 2022 newsletter were ultimately rejected by the legislature. Senate Bill 22-073, titled Alternative Energy Sources, would have directed the state to investigate the feasibility of using small modular nuclear reactors as a carbon-free energy source for Colorado. That bill was sent to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, where it ultimately died. House Bill 1140, titled Green Hydrogen To Meet Pollution Reduction Goals, would have directed the state to recognize green hydrogen as a renewable energy source that certain retail electric service providers could use to meet statewide greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals. That bill was ultimately killed in the House Energy and Environment Committee.
What Should We Expect from the 2023 Legislative Session?
It’s too soon to say. But at the end of this session, none of the bills proposed addressed pore space ownership. As we noted in our February 2022 newsletter, ownership of the pore space remains unresolved in Colorado, and obtaining certainty about who owns the pore space is critical to encouraging investment in carbon capture, use, and sequestration projects. Given this uncertainty, we might expect to see the Colorado legislature pick up that issue during the 2023 legislative session.