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CREA-Sponsored SB 15-046 Heads to Governor

March 30, 2015

We are pleased to report that earlier today the Colorado House of Representatives passed SB 15-046 on third and final reading. The vote: 65-0 in favor of the bill. Since the bill was not amended in the House, it does not have to go back to the Senate and will now go to Governor Hickenlooper for his signature.

SB 15-046 was proposed by CREA to address the “retail distributed generation (DG)” requirement contained in SB 13-252. By the year 2020, electric co-ops must derive at least 0.5% of their sales from renewable energy sources that are located on the customer side of the electric meter.  For some electric co-ops, this is impractical because while they may have large sales of electricity from industrial consumers, they have small numbers of residential consumers who might be interested in renewable energy like rooftop solar panels. So, one component of SB 15-046 allows co-ops to exclude industrial sales from the total amount of sales that is subject to the 0.5% retail DG requirement.

The second component of SB 15-046 allows electric co-ops to count the output from community solar gardens as retail DG. The current RES law allows investor-owned utilities to count solar gardens as retail DG, so this provision in the bill simply puts co-ops on equal footing with the other utilities.

CREA worked for months with the primary sponsors of the bill, Senator Kevin Grantham and Representative Dominick Moreno, as well as many stakeholder groups in order to bring the bill forward and move it through both chambers of the legislature. It was truly a collaborative process that required give and take on both sides and we are grateful to all involved. We are especially appreciative of the efforts of Senator Kerry Donovan who convened stakeholder meetings after the bill’s introduction to encourage the parties to find common ground.

Colorado’s electric co-ops continue to support the smart integration of renewable energy resources in a way that also protects the pocketbooks of our rural member-owners. We thank the Colorado General Assembly for supporting our common sense proposal to meet both objectives.

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