The bill modifies the following statutory provisions that apply to solar energy so that they also apply to geothermal energy, which generally is using the heat of the earth to generate electricity or to heat or cool space or water:
- Section 1 of the bill requires the Colorado energy office (office) to develop basic consumer education and guidance about leased or purchased geothermal installation, in consultation with industries that offer these options to consumers;
- Sections 2, 6, and 8 limit the aggregate of all charges or other related or associated fees the state, a county, or a municipality may impose or assess to install a geothermal energy system;
- Section 3 specifies that geothermal equipment is a type of pollution control equipment that the division of administration in the department of public health and environment may certify as pollution control equipment;
- Section 4 specifies that a “project” for purposes of the “County and Municipality Development Revenue Bond Act” includes capital improvements to existing single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, or industrial structures, to retrofit such structures for installation of geothermal improvements;
- Section 5 permits a county board of commissioners or a regional planning commission, and section 9 requires a municipal development commission, to include methods for assuring access to appropriate conditions for geothermal energy sources in a master plan for development;
- Section 7 specifies that the addition of a geothermal energy device to a building is not necessarily considered a structural alteration for purposes of continuing a nonconforming use of a building, structure, or land under a county zoning resolution;
- Section 10 permits the Colorado agricultural value-added development board to use some of the money in the agriculture value-added cash fund for geothermal energy generation facilities that are colocated with agricultural uses;
- Section 11 adds a geothermal energy device to the types of renewable energy generation devices that cannot be prohibited in legal instruments related to the transfer or sale of, or interest in, real property;
- Section 13 includes an independently owned geothermal energy system, which is defined in section 12 , in the property tax exemption for household furnishings;
- Section 14 creates community geothermal gardens, which are analogous to community solar gardens; and
- Sections 15 and 16 create conforming amendments to the definition of “qualified community location” to incorporate community geothermal gardens for purposes of local improvement districts and municipal special improvement districts.
Section 1 requires the office to update the greenhouse gas pollution reduction roadmap to expressly include geothermal energy as a renewable energy resource that qualifying retail utilities may use to achieve the electric utility sector greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals set forth in the roadmap.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced).
SB22-118, Encourage Geothermal Energy Use has bipartisan support. The bill was sponsored by Senator Rob Woodward (Republican), Senator Nick Hinrichsen (Democrat), Representative Richard Holtorf (Republican), and Representative Donald Valdez (Democrat).
Unequal Opportunities, Unequal Outcomes
Dr. Paul Prentice discusses his recent study, Unequal Opportunities, Unequal Outcomes: The COVID-19 Recession in Colorado.