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Colorado House Bill 11-1083

HB 11-1083 is an amendment to a Colorado Statute that encourages development of new clean energy and energy-efficient technologies. That statute creates exemptions that let electric power companies pass the costs of new energy technology development, along with the higher rates for electricity generated by the technology, to Colorado ratepayers. By adding pumped storage plants to this statute, HB 11-1083 simply reclassifies old technology as new technology, crowding out the funds for advanced technologies that the statute was designed to promote.

The original statute, 40-2-123, allows for exemptions to public utility regulations that normally protect Colorado ratepayers from rate increases when power companies try to shift their investment costs to the ratepayer.  New large-scale energy technology deployment requires significant upfront capital investment for its development, purchase and construction. These new projects are often unattractive to  private investor funds because of poor or long returns on investment. Statue 40-2-123 provides a means for the utility companies to overcome this by passing the investment costs and higher rates to Colorado electricity customers.  To protect Colorado electricity  consumers and taxpayers from abuse of these exemptions through influence and special interests, the statute is quite specific in classifying the energy projects under this law to cover new, clean energy generation technology.

It is ratepayers and taxpayers of Colorado who will pay for the development of these new technologies, along with the higher utility rates that come with them. Lawmakers need to be held accountable to prove that amendments like HB 11-1083 are cost effective, energy efficient, and provide beneficial contributions to Colorado's energy security, economic prosperity, environmental protection, and insulation from fuel price increases, as required by Colorado law.

  • HB 11-1083 simply reclassifies old technology as new technology under this statue, crowding out the new technologies the Statute was designed to promote. This new bill proposes reclassifying hydroelectric generator plants, and pumped storage plants as new energy technology under Statute 40-2-123.  Among the oldest most established energy technologies in the industry, hydroelectric and pumped storage fail to meet the letter and intent of Colorado's energy technology development statute. Utility companies have decades of experience building and financing them these plants.  Public utility regulations to support their construction are well established and do not need special exemptions.   It is true costs of developing hydroelectric and pumped storage plants have risen due to environmental regulations, fewer geographic sites, and the massive scale of construction. Reclassifying them as new technology is designed to shift the investment to ratepayers. It will have the opposite effect this statute was designed for by crowding out available incentives for new technology and using them for expensive proven technology.

While the construction of the South Slope Pumped Storage plant will certainly benefit the home districts of the bill's sponsors, paying for them and the increased electricity rates will be felt by all taxpayers and ratepayers in Colorado. Contact your state senator now.

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