Scott Introduces Major Energy Office Renovation

DENVER — A far-reaching measure introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday not only reauthorizes and revamps a Colorado Energy Office that never quite fulfilled its original potential, but it includes other provisions aimed at ensuring that an “all of the above” energy sector remains a cornerstone of Colorado’s economy for years to come.  

Authored by Grand Junction Republican Ray Scott, who also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Energy and Environment, Senate Bill 301 gives new life and new direction to an energy office that is scheduled to ride off into the sunset this year without reauthorization. Energy office programs that never panned-out, or found a focus, will be nixed, and its mission will be broadened to include a greater variety of energy issues, from hydro-power to nuclear energy to the traditional workhorses of Colorado’s energy economy, like natural gas and coal.

“The energy office’s original focus on renewables may have been justified at the time, but times have changed, use of renewables have gone mainstream, and I came to believe, based on hearings we held at the Statehouse this session, that Colorado shouldn’t fence-in a potentially limitless energy future by focusing on one option to the exclusion of others,” said Scott. “No state in the nation can outshine Colorado in terms of the variety of energy options we can pursue, from renewables to traditionals and everything in between, and this bill aims at ensuring that we don’t sell our state economy or energy consumers short by putting all our energy eggs in one or even two baskets.”

Scott said the “Energize Colorado Act” will help Colorado achieve its full energy potential, through pursuit of an “all of the above” energy strategy that President Obama promised Americans but never delivered. 

To that end, SB-301:

  • Undertakes a major renovation and reinvention of the energy office, by eliminating programs and responsibilities that are obsolete, redundant, unnecessary or were languished due to a lack of interest or funding
  • Broadens the office’s too-narrow focus to include nuclear and hydropower, among others
  • Kick-starts the process of addressing funding issues related to abandoned oil and gas wells and facilities
  • Does away with an archaic and counterproductive prohibition against investor-owned utilities owning natural gas reserves, which drives-up costs to consumers and benefits out of state energy producers to the detriment of Colorado producers
  • Increases the registration fee for electric vehicles, directing those funds toward road maintenance and upgrades, ensuring that those who choose such vehicles are paying their fair share for upkeep of the roads from which they continue to benefit

Though he knows there will be naysayers, Scott believes the bill will enjoy broad enough interest and support among colleagues and “stakeholders” that it has a good chance of success despite the short time remaining before the General Assembly adjourns.    

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