Biodiesel standards and incentives for battery storage were among the pro-renewable energy policies that a legislative committee advanced this week.
The legislation goes next to the Legislative Council, a committee of lawmakers, for review on Nov. 15 and then could be considered by the full General Assembly after the next legislative session begins in January.
“These bills, which we developed through extensive discussions with stakeholders throughout the energy industry and communities across the state, will make it easier to transmit renewable energy, increase the use of biodiesel fuels and encourage investment in new battery storage technologies to lower energy costs and protect our environment,” said Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, in a statement.
The Energy Legislation Review Interim Study Committee decided to phase-in a requirement that diesel fuel sold in Colorado during the summer months contain at least 5% biodiesel by Jan 1., 2021, and 10% two years later. Fatty acids from plant or animal matter are blended with petroleum-based fuel to form biodiesel.
Biodiesel freezes at a higher temperature than its petroleum counterpart. Minnesota was the first state to require biodiesel, and mandates a 20% blend during the summer months.
While biodiesel has the same carbon emissions as diesel, the U.S. Department of Energy notes that the plant matter grown to mix into biodiesel absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Another bill would assess the value of utilities’ energy storage equipment in a similar manner to renewable energy equipment. This would lower the tax value of batteries, and consequently reduce revenues to local governments. However, the goal of the legislation is to create incentives for the storage of renewable energy.
Finally, on conservation easements — land that private property owners agree to protect — a bill advanced to allow renewable energy transmission lines if they are compatible with conservation goals on the property in question.