CONTACT: Rep. Hansen 720-243-2546 | Rep. Esgar 719-248-8262 | Comms Director Dean Toda 303-866-3844
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Ideas to Grow CO’s New Energy Economy
(April 18) – A bill to continue Colorado’s transition to a modern energy future, help reduce the cost of energy for ratepayers and address community impacts of a changing energy landscape has been introduced in the state House of Representatives.
As Colorado’s energy portfolio changes and electric generating plants are updated or retired for economic reasons, including low natural gas prices, fluctuations in international energy markets and more competitive pricing for large-scale wind and solar, workers and communities too must adapt. The Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Act, sponsored by Reps. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, puts the bond market to work to ensure Colorado’s smooth transition to cleaner, more efficient energy sources while also helping local communities adapt to an evolving economy.
“HB17-1339 creates a win-win-win solution by using private investments to save money for ratepayers, help impacted workers and communities, and keep utilities operating efficiently – all without adding costs to Colorado’s state budget,” said Rep. Hansen, D-Denver.
How can such a win-win-win outcome be possible?
When power generating plants are retired, they often leave behind “stranded” investment by utilities that still needs to be paid for by electric consumers. If these investments can be refinanced at lower rates, electricity consumers pay less to pay off the remaining debt, resulting in lower electric rates. That would be win No. 1, for consumers.
Under the bill, some of the refinancing savings would be directed to community and worker impact mitigation. Communities that lose tax base when generating plants retire could apply for transition assistance, and laid-off workers could benefit from retraining program and other assistance. That aid, win No. 2, would help Colorado’s rural communities adapt to Colorado’s evolving energy economy while providing new economic opportunities to people in those localities.
Win No. 3 would be for utilities, which would have a new financing mechanism to securitize their capital immediately and invest more of their rate bases in clean and renewable generation.
“By tapping private investment and leveraging those dollars to hold down energy costs, lend support to impacted communities and workers, and boost investment in clean, renewable power generation, we can drive economic growth, create jobs and position Colorado to continue to be a leader in the new energy economy for years to come,” said Rep. Esgar, D-Pueblo.