Bill would extend and change the Colorado Energy Office’s mandate

A state Senate committee passed a bill that would save a Colorado energy agency from extinction while eliminating much of its renewable energy portfolio.

The Colorado State Senate, March 15, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would save a Colorado energy agency from extinction while eliminating much of its renewable energy portfolio.

The Republican majority on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee voted Wednesday to send the measure to the chamber’s Finance Committee.

GOP Sen. Ray Scott’s bill would renew funding for the next four years for the Colorado Energy Office, whose mandate is set to expire June 30.

The measure would drastically reduce the office’s promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

It also would help publicly-owned utilities purchase natural gas reserves. Supporters of the idea say it would act as a hedge against volatile price swings for natural gas.

Opponents want to protect ratepayers from shouldering the costs of natural gas acquisitions.