Bipartisan Senate Bill 72 calls for a multi-state regionally interconnected electricity market to improve grid resilience, reliability, and reduce energy costs.
DENVER, March 16, 2021 — National business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), along with several industry groups and local energy providers, urged Colorado lawmakers to support bipartisan Senate Bill 72* (SB 21-072), which would require state utilities to join a regional transmission organization (RTO) by 2030 and modernize the state’s electricity grid system. By streamlining Colorado’s electric transmission planning, the bill, which was passed by the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee 5-1 today with bipartisan support, would also help the state to spur new infrastructure investment and meet its clean energy goals.
“This bipartisan supported bill is the answer to establishing a more robust, resilient grid for Coloradans,” said Emilie Olson, Principal at Advanced Energy Economy. “As Colorado adds more renewable energy into its resource mix, a more robust and efficient regional transmission system will save Coloradans money while increasing reliability of the overall grid. An interconnected system will be instrumental to a stable and affordable energy transition.”
“Colorado can lead on the development of an RTO, or get left behind with a vulnerable grid,” said Olson. “This bill lays the groundwork for a regionally coordinated energy market that maximizes the performance of the electrical grid system-wide by broadening the pool of energy resources available to deliver efficiently and dependably.”
“RTOs are better equipped to deliver flexible, reliable power where and when it is needed most from regions that have clean energy to spare,” said Olson. “This is crucial during extreme weather events and would help Colorado avoid a Texas-scale energy crisis.”
“Strengthened interstate cooperation translates to lower costs and increased reliability for customers, not to mention increased economic potential for the state,” added Olson. “Embracing an expanded regional market would also drive business growth and attract private investment to Colorado, as companies look to competitive options for meeting their sustainability goals.”
The advanced energy industry is already a significant economic driver in the state, employing more than 68,000 Coloradans statewide. If passed into law, SB 21-072 has the potential to drive additional economic development by generating more in-state critical energy infrastructure and renewable energy generation projects.
AEE is coordinating a coalition of more than 20 businesses and organizations that support the bill and will continue to track the bill’s progress through the Colorado legislature.
“Focusing on modernizing Colorado’s energy system through innovation and strengthened interstate cooperation will benefit ratepayers with lower costs and increased reliability, while maximizing the performance of the electrical grid system-wide,” said the group in their letter to lawmakers today. “Taking a more regionally coordinated and competitive approach to how advanced energy is integrated and deployed will further Colorado’s economic recovery, resilience to future risks, and ability to hit the state’s economy-wide decarbonization goals on time.”
- Read the coalition letter supporting SB 72.
- Read our jobs report on the state of advanced energy in Colorado.