Colorado Legislative & Regulatory Policy
Want to get more involved in legislative or regulatory policy?
Drop an email to Cathy Boies at CBoies@cossa.co
COSSA championed reasonable solar permitting fees, modernized distributed generation laws, and incentives for battery energy storage systems in the 2021 legislative session.
We successfully contained permitting charges and fees to reasonable limits (HB21-1284), expanded behind-the-meter solar system size limits to make way for home and vehicle electrification (SB21-261), and added storage requirements to investor-owned utility incentive programs (SB21-261).
For a full accounting of energy-related laws from the 2021 session, please see: 2021 Legislative Session in Review.
Successes on the regulatory side in 2021 include better interconnection standards, a first-of-its-kind distribution system planning requirement for investor-owned utilities, modernized rates for Xcel’s commercial classes, and the preservation of community solar garden bill credits.
COSSA was instrumental in updating interconnection standards this past year that apply to all retail distributed generation projects for investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and municipal electric utilities. This concluded a 4+year effort to update decades-old rules and resulted in more efficient, transparent, and accountable rules for distributed generation projects to interconnect to utility systems.
COSSA also accomplished new distribution system planning requirements for investor-owned utilities. These new rules will require IOUs to better map and disclose key information about their distribution systems to facilitate distributed generation. This information will provide the foundation for grid innovation such as vehicle-to-grid, smart meters, resiliency, and meter aggregation as well as provide $2M+ non-wires alternative solicitation opportunities.
COSSA also led the charge in Xcel’s phase II rate case this past year, beginning the process at the PUC to roll back an outdated approach to rate design for Xcel’s larger customers. COSSA argued to reduce demand charges and replace them with time-of-use rates for Xcel’s secondary general class. This modernized rate design will send better price signals to customers and encourage more efficient usage patterns that benefit the whole system. The PUC agreed, allowing a 30 MW pilot program for larger customers to proceed and raising the demand threshold for 18,000+ small commercial customers.
Finally, COSSA also successfully protected the bill credit for community solar gardens in Xcel’s service territory. Xcel CSGs have seen annual declines in the credit amounts in recent years. COSSA intervened this year to protect the CSG bill credit; our work helped to stabilize the market in Xcel’s territory and protect current projects from further losses.
Engagements Continuing into 2022
COSSA began several endeavors in 2021 that will carry on into 2022. COSSA represented large-scale solar developer interests in both Xcel’s Electric Resource Planning and Power Pathway proceedings. Decisions are expected in these proceedings in the first quarter of 2022. COSSA will also further the development of time-of-use rates as the secondary general pilot unfolds in Xcel’s territory. And COSSA will be the voice for behind-the-meter interests as Xcel makes use of the distribution system rules, filing its first plan in Q2 2022.
COSSA will also be at the forefront of advocating for distributed generation interests in renewable energy plans expected Q1 2022 from Xcel and Black Hills Energy. COSSA will finally be able to put into action new storage incentive programs as well as further distributed generation capacity amounts. Finally, COSSA will also be on the lookout for attacks on net metering, as a rulemaking is anticipated in 2022.
Help us help you
All this advocacy work takes time and money. Please help us defend and further your interests before the legislature and the Public Utilities Commission.
See Jason Henderson for membership opportunities.
Key Solar and Storage State Laws
- HB21-1284: Fair Permitting Act Update
- SB21-261: PUC Encourage Renewable Distributed Generation
- HB19-1003: Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act
- SB19-236: Sunset Public Utilities Commission
- HB19-1261: Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution
- SB13-252: Renewable Energy Standard Retail Wholesale Methane
- HB11-1199: Fair Permit Act
- HB10-1342: Community Solar Gardens
- HB10-1001: Renewable Energy Standard 30% by 2020
- SB09-51: Renewable Energy Financing Act (Net metering and 3rd party financing)
- HB07-1281: Renewable Energy Standard for Co-op Utilities