Colorado lawmakers on June 3 passed a bill that would streamline construction and expansion of transmission projects within the state and require most regulated utilities to join organized wholesale markets.

Earlier language in SB 21-072 would have required utilities to join regional transmission organizations, in line with Nevada's SB 448 (see related story and CEM No. 1631).

The bill, introduced by Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) would also create the Colorado Electric Transmission Authority, an independent entity that would authorize transmission operators to expand and operate transmission and interconnected storage facilities in the state. CETA would have the power to issue bonds, identify and establish intrastate transmission corridors and coordinate with other entities to establish interstate transmission corridors. It would also have authority to exercise eminent domain to acquire eligible facilities. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the legislation.

The Colorado General Assembly on June 2 passed a sweeping transportation bill to be funded by increasing fees for ride shares, home deliveries and vehicle registration—including a ratcheting up of registration fees for electric vehicles until they are equivalent to those of combustion-engine vehicles. The bill, SB 21-260, also creates a clean-transit enterprise within the state Department of Transportation to support electrification, fleet vehicle replacement, EV charging infrastructure and ozone mitigation efforts. Additional gas taxes and a restructuring of rental car fees will also support the department's 10-year plan to improve and expand Colorado's roads, tunnels and bridges.

Local media reported that Democratic legislators have abandoned efforts to pass SB 21-200—a bill that would have granted Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission the authority to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards—following repeated promises by Polis to veto the bill (see CEM No. 1639). Much of the language of SB 21-200 will be folded into HB 21-1266, the environmental-justice bill, according to reports.

The Colorado General Assembly's 2021 regular session is scheduled to close June 10.

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Staff Writer

Abigail Sawyer grew up in northwestern New Mexico near two massive coal-fired power plants. She spent many hours gazing out the car window at transmission lines on family road trips across the Southwest and now reports on the region from San Francisco.