Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed aggressive green energy and emission reduction legislation Friday and detailed a “roadmap to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040” in a press conference.
House Bill 1159 extends tax credits for electric vehicles through 2025.
The law will give almost $70 million away in tax incentives, according to the bill’s most recent fiscal note. That estimate is down from over $99 million in the original fiscal note.
Polis said at the press conference that HB 1159 is an “incredibly important bill to help reduce the costs of electric vehicles to consumers.”
Among other bills signed includes one that aims at putting more electric vehicle charging stations across the state (Senate Bill 77) and one that allows for drivers blocking charging stations to be ticketed (House Bill 1298).
The Independence Institute expressed concern over SB 77, saying, “people who cannot afford to purchase an electric vehicle would be burdened with helping pay for charging stations.”
“With just over 11,000 EVs registered in Colorado, the majority of the state also owns a traditional gas-powered car,” said Brit Naas, an energy policy associate for the conservative think tank. “EV’s come with a higher price tag and some people simply don’t have a job that allows them to drive one.”
“A direct current fast charging station – the type that can recharge an EV in 30 minutes – is expensive to construct and is accompanied by high demand charges,” he added. “It’s been reported that people using these types of charging stations have paid over a hundred dollars for a single recharge. The proffered solution is equipping the stations with storage capacity, but this will increase their construction costs.”
Polis also signed House Bill 1261, called the “Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution,” into law on Thursday. The legislation sets goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 26 percent in 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050, according to 2005 levels.
Naas said the legislation could negatively impact the state’s economy with unintended consequences.
“A buildout of renewable energy generation with the hope of helping low- and static-income ratepayers can actually be detrimental. It causes electric rates to rise, and in turn reduces the amount of money people with low or static incomes can spend on other goods,” he said.
“The goal to create new jobs in the renewable energy sphere can also backfire,” he added. “Legislation like 1261 often chooses certain individuals and industries as winners and others as losers. When this occurs, high-emitting industries are impacted, and people usually lose jobs within those sectors – both are detrimental for the state."
Naas said job growth in the renewable energy sector often amounts to temporary construction jobs.
Efforts to curb climate change were among Democrats’ top priorities during the legislative session. Another bill that would have set similar targets for utilities in the state failed to pass.
In addition to signing bills, Polis announced the state’s roadmap in a press conference on Thursday, saying it would create “good green jobs that can never be outsourced, and saving people money on electricity.”
“The roadmap is not just about a vision, but includes concrete steps that will help us reap the economic benefits of renewable energy, curb pollution of our air, and fight climate change,” Polis said. “Colorado has always been a leader in clean-tech innovation and we have no intentions of slowing down.”
The plan includes getting more zero emission vehicles on the roads, help public utilities transition to renewable energy, and promote efficient energy programs.