Republicans Renew Push for Energy Office Reboot
Denver — Colorado Senate Republicans opened the 2018 legislative year very much like they closed-out the 2017 session, with a proposal to revamp and reinvigorate a Colorado Energy Office that has lost its relevance and effectiveness in recent years due to a too-narrow focus on niche energy sources.
“An all-of the-above energy state needs an all-of-the-above energy office,” said Grand Junction Republican and Assistant Majority Leader Ray Scott, as his latest plan for an Energy Office remake was read across the desk as Senate Bill-3, underscoring the high priority Republicans put on this issue. Scott’s previous attempt to reinvent the office was derailed in the waning hours of the 2017 session when House Democrats balked at broadening its focus beyond promoting renewables.
“We’re taught as kids to try and try again, if at first we don’t succeed, so I’m back with another effort to reinvent an energy office that had lost its way in recent times and really hadn’t kept up with new energy realities in Colorado,” said Scott.
Key provisions of Senate Bill 3 include:
Declutters the office by eliminating programs or initiatives that are unused, unfunded or obsolete;
Requires Senate confirmation of the Energy Office director, adding an element of accountability;
Renames the “clean and renewal energy fund” as simply the “energy fund,” denoting the office’s move away from playing favorites;
Ends the office’s role in credentialing and training solar workers
“Colorado is blessed to be an energy superpower among states, enjoying an array of energy options most of them can’t even dream of, yet our energy office had become an obscure, rudderless, dysfunctional backwater, focused on minutia rather than promoting a big picture energy future for the state,” said Scott. “This bill will help reenergize the office, and make it relevant again, by ensuring that it’s promoting not just one or two technologies but Colorado’s all-of-the-above energy economy.”
Scott believes his new bill has a better chance of success this time because provisions in the earlier bill not directly related to office operations have been removed, or will be dealt with in separate measures. “I may have been a little too ambitious with the earlier version, by including provisions that organized environmental extremists could gin-up the usual controversy over, so this version is more narrowly focused on doing away with pointless bureaucratic clutter in the office and redefining its mission.”
And because a streamlined office can have a streamlined budget, Scott’s bill also proposed a roughly $1 million reduction in the office’s annual budget. “Taxpayers and energy ratepayers both can find something to cheer in this bill, because not only will they have a new and improved energy office but it will cost less as well,” said Scott. “That counts as a win-win in my book.”
SB-3 has been assigned to the Agriculture Committee and will gets its first hearing on January 18.