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Legislative Year: 2021 Change

Bill Detail: SB21-161

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Title Voluntary Reduce Greenhouse Gas Natural Gas Utility
Status Senate Committee on Transportation & Energy Postpone Indefinitely (04/20/2021)
Bill Subjects
  • Natural Resources & Environment
House Sponsors
Senate Sponsors D. Coram (R)
C. Hansen (D)
House Committee
Senate Committee Transportation and Energy
Date Introduced 03/02/2021

The bill requires the public utilities commission (PUC) to adopt by
rule, no later than July 31, 2022, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission
reduction programs (reduction programs) for large natural gas utilities
(those that have at least 250,000 customer accounts in Colorado) and
small natural gas utilities (those that have fewer than 250,000 customer

accounts in Colorado) (collectively, utilities). Municipally owned utilities
may, but need not, participate in a reduction program. The rules must
include reporting requirements and a process for utilities to fully recover
qualified investments, which are prudently incurred costs associated with
a reduction program.
The bill establishes the following GHG emission reduction targets,
using a utility's 2019 GHG emissions as a baseline:
  • By January 1, 2025, at least 5%;
  • By January 1, 2030, at least 10%; and
  • On and after January 1, 2035, at least 15%.
GHG emission reductions from the delivery of natural gas to other
utilities and transportation sector retail customers are excluded from the
reduction programs. The following sources of GHG emission reductions
are included in the reduction programs:
  • Methane leaked from the transportation and delivery of
natural gas from natural gas distribution and service
pipelines; and
  • Carbon dioxide emitted by the utility's retail customers
(other than those in the transportation sector) as a result of
the combustion of natural gas delivered by the utility.
GHG emission reductions can be achieved by:
  • Using renewable natural gas, which must account for at
least 35% of the emission reductions;
  • Emission offsets;
  • Methane emission reductions from a variety of
mechanisms; and
  • Other programs developed by the utility and approved by
the PUC that demonstrate GHG emission reductions.
If a large utility's total incremental annual cost to meet the GHG
emission reduction targets exceeds 2% of the large utility's total revenue
requirement for a particular year, the large utility shall not make
additional qualified investments under the reduction program for that year
without approval from the PUC.
Small utilities may opt in to the reduction program as established
by the PUC by rule. The rule must include tradeable credits and a rate cap
limiting the small utility's costs of making qualified investments.
For included emission reductions and until 2025, a utility
participating in a reduction program is not subject to any additional GHG
emission reduction requirements or required to incur any additional costs
under Colorado's generally applicable GHG emission reduction
requirements if the utility:
  • Files with the PUC a plan that contains approvable and
cost-effective programs that make progress toward the
GHG emission reduction targets and are projected to meet
either the applicable emission reduction targets or the
applicable retail rate impact;
  • Reports GHG emission reductions consistent with the
accounting methodology established by the division of
administration in the department of public health and
environment; and
  • Is either projected to meet the GHG emission reduction
targets in an applicable year or the PUC finds that the
projected costs to achieve the emission reductions have met
the applicable retail rate impact.
The bill gives the oil and gas conservation commission the
authority to authorize class VI injection permits, which authorize the deep
sequestration of carbon dioxide.

Committee Reports
with Amendments
Full Text
Full Text of Bill (pdf) (most recent)
Fiscal Notes Fiscal Notes (08/04/2021) (most recent)  
Additional Bill Documents Bill Documents
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  • Past fiscal notes
  • Committee activity and documents
  • Bill History
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