Press Coverage

October 2020

  • EVs dealt major blow in building code ruling
    EnergyWire - October 22, 2020
    In a setback to clean energy advocates, gas industry and homebuilder associations blocked an effort this month to prepare new homes and commercial buildings for a future wave of electric vehicles, stoves and heaters.
  • Vote Yes on NM Constitutional Amendment 1
    NRDC Blog - October 21, 2020
    New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission is one of only 11 led by politicians rather than experts, and the only one in that group with a 100% clean energy target. This reform would enact one of the most rigorous commission selection processes in the country. A bipartisan nominating committee, which will include Native representation, will provide the Governor a list of qualified, geographically diverse experts from which to select.
  • More public charging stations key to making EVs accessible
    Star Advertiser - October 19, 2020
    During these tough economic times, every penny counts. That’s why it makes perfect sense for residents and businesses to take advantage of available resources that not only save on energy, which lowers electricity bills, but also get money back in the form of rebates.
  • Arizona cities defend progress after slipping in clean energy ranking
    Cronkite News - October 16, 2020
    Local officials pushed back this week against a new report that showed three Arizona cities slipping in a national ranking on clean-energy policies, saying the report does not appear to reflect their clean- and renewable-energy efforts.
  • Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson Votes “Yes” to Help AZ Families Save Energy & Money through Energy Efficiency
    Arizona Corporation Commission - October 15, 2020
    Arizona Corporation Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson voted “Yes” to adopt a proposal that will help customers of Arizona Public Service Company, Tucson Electric Power, and UNS Electric save on their monthly electric bills through the use of energy-saving technologies. The proposal was supported by SWEEP, Arizona PIRG Education Fund, and Arizona Wildfire (formerly Arizona Community Action Association).

September 2020

  • Cleaner air in Colorado by 2050? Roadmap to achieve it released by Gov. Polis and state agencies
    Colorado Politics - September 30, 2020
    A draft plan for how to achieve major reductions in greenhouses gases was released Wednesday, September 30, by Colorado Governor Jared Polis that includes a goal of close to 100% electric cars, zero-emissions trucks, and buses on the roads by 2050. The release comes on a day when the Front Range is experiencing haze from wildfires in Colorado, Wyoming, and California, which has led to smoky air and ash falling from the skies.
  • Colorado releases greenhouse gas reduction plan
    S&P Global - September 30, 2020
    More than a year after Colorado lawmakers overhauled how the state regulates energy and power, Democratic Governor Jared Polis released a greenhouse gas reduction plan that seeks to decrease such emissions by 90% by 2050 from 2005 levels. The draft plan, released September 30 for public review, also calls for interim reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of 26% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.
  • Colorado oil and gas emissions rules begin to tighten, but gaps open over what is monitored, by whom and where
    The Colorado Sun - September 19, 2020
    Colorado is moving to tighten air emissions from a range of oil and gas activities — including fracking — with a general consensus among industry, environmental, and community groups. In two days of testimony before the state’s Air Quality Control Commission there was general support for proposed rules covering fracking and drilling, internal combustion engines, and the unloading of drilling wastes into storage wells.
  • Summit County commissioners consider going electric
    Summit Daily News - September 16, 2020
    In 2018, Summit County, Colorado signed onto the Ready for 100 campaign, which set the goal of getting Colorado to entirely carbon-free and renewable energy by 2050. In 2019, the county also signed onto the GoEV campaign, a collaboration between Conservation Colorado, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, the Sierra Club, and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. The GoEV campaign urges cities and counties to push toward going electric. In the next year, the county will be creating an action plan for switching to electric cars and developing the infrastructure to support those cars.

August 2020

  • New ABQ building code may be delayed
    Albuquerque Journal - August 16, 2020
    Albuquerque's effort to implement a new city building code may be delayed until 2021 amid concerns from the business community and at least one city councilor. The Albuquerque City Council adopted the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code on August 3, after two years of work on a replacement for regulations put into place in 2009.
  • SWEEP offers insights for local governments who want to decarbonize housing
    Mountain Town News - August 16, 2020
    SWEEP's new Building Electrification report seeks to walk community leaders and activists through the full spectrum of electrification policies they could adopt, along with examples of communities that have already gone down this path. It provides code language for local governments to adopt directly into their building codes.
  • Report aids local governments on policy options, pathways to electrify new buildings
    Building Design and Construction Network - August 4, 2020
    Anew report and infographic released by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) provides guidance for local governments on policy options and pathways to electrify new buildings. The report, “Building Electrification: How Cities and Counties are Implementing Electrification Policies – with Adoptable Code Language,” provides insight to encourage more all-electric buildings. Such structures would eliminate natural gas and propane-fueled appliances and equipment as options. This strategy is a way to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and climate emissions in the built environment. It is a key to meeting climate and public health goals, according to a SWEEP press release.
  • New Mexico utility replacing coal plant with solar + storage portfolio
    Solar Power World - August 3, 2020
    The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved replacement of the electricity that the Public Service Company of New Mexico receives from the San Juan Generating Station with a combination of solar generation, energy storage, and demand response. SWEEP's Justin Brant provided testimony supporting the inclusion of demand response resources in the replacement portfolio.

July 2020

  • New Report Helps Local Communities Shift to Efficient All-Electric Buildings
    Renewable Energy Magazine - July 28, 2020
    A new report released by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project guides local governments through policy options and pathways to electrify new buildings – a key strategy for meeting climate and public health goals. The report, “Building Electrification: How Cities and Counties are Implementing Electrification Policies – with Adoptable Code Language,” provides insight to local governments wanting to encourage more all-electric buildings, as a way to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and climate emissions in the built environment.
  • A power play: Changes to Tri-State will affect Empire Electric and its customers
    Informed Infrastructure - July 27, 2020
    [BOULDER, CO] – A new report and summary infographic released today by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project guides local governments through policy options and pathways to electrify new buildings – a key strategy for meeting climate and public health goals. The report, “Building Electrification: How Cities and Counties are Implementing Electrification Policies – with Adoptable Code Language,” provides insight to local governments that want to encourage more all-electric buildings, as a way to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and climate emissions in the built environment. Electrification means switching appliances and equipment that would otherwise run on natural gas or propane—such as furnaces, water heating, stoves, and clothes dryers—to clean and efficient electric versions. With the electric grid increasingly powered by renewables such as solar and wind, and with advanced technologies like heat pumps and induction stoves now widely available, most experts agree this is the quickest way to zero-carbon buildings.
  • It's time to update New Mexico's energy codes
    Santa Fe New Mexican - July 27, 2020
    It is sometimes said a good deal is one in which both sides are dissatisfied. Such could be the case with proposed revisions to the New Mexico Energy Efficiency Code for residential and commercial buildings. On the other hand, those of us occupying the ever-shrinking radical center believe it is a great deal. There are no national energy codes. What the International Codes Council produces on three-year cycles are known as model codes — meaning states can adopt, amend or ignore them. New Mexico is operating on an amended version of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. It ignored the 2012 and 2015 versions. The state is now contemplating adoption of an amended 2018 model code.
  • A power play: Changes to Tri-State will affect Empire Electric and its customers
    Four Corners Free Press - July 14, 2020
    Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the electric power provider to Empire Electric Association (EEA), is undergoing fundamental changes to its membership, regulatory oversight, and power generation portfolio. EEA will be directly affected by these changes through its long-term wholesale electric service contract, which requires Empire to purchase 95 percent of its energy from Tri-State through 2050. Since payments to Tri-State are the largest part of EEA’s and its members’ monthly bills, electricity bills could go up or down, depending on decisions made by the EEA board of directors on whether to continue with Tri- State as its primary energy provider or to invest locally in self-supply or transmission upgrades to reach other providers.
  • Tucson Electric Power plans to end use of coal-generated electricity by 2032
    Tucson.com - July 7, 2020
    In a dramatic policy shift, Tucson Electric Power says it will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2032 and will increase renewable energy’s share of its energy load to more than 70% by 2035. As part of that change, the utility will stop buying electricity from its two units at its coal-fired Springerville Generating Station by 2032. The plant, TEP’s biggest power source, provides about 35% of its energy. The utility already had planned to start up two New Mexico wind farms and a solar storage plant in the Tucson area by next year. The new plan calls for adding an additional 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2035.

June 2020

  • Electricity to Benefit Our Future
    Colorado Country Life - June 29, 2020
    The Colorado Rural Electric Association, the statewide trade association for Colorado’s electric cooperatives, is promoting beneficial electrification as part of the Colorado chapter of the Beneficial Electrification League. Co-op power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Colorado Energy Office and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project also are members of the Colorado organization.
  • Letter to the Editor: APS, Arizona Corporation Commission Fail to Protect Vulnerable Ratepayers
    SanTanValley.Com - June 29, 2020
    Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) said a recent vote by the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state's utility regulators, failed to provide the short-term relief many Arizona Public Service ratepayers need now and the long-term relief many APS ratepayers will need for months to come.
  • Nevada Accelerates on Clean Cars
    Energy Central - June 25, 2020
    Governor Sisolak’s administration took a vital step today to reduce climate-warming and health-harming pollution from cars and trucks: initiating a Clean Cars rulemaking. If implemented, the Clean Car Standards would protect Nevadans’ health, expand their transportation options, save them money at the pump and on electric bills, and conserve their beautiful natural environment. The move was widely hailed by consumer interest groups, public health advocates, local governments, organized labor, environmental justice and social equity organizations, business leaders, and a host of environmental and conservation organizations. This forms part of the Sisolak administration’s efforts to get Nevada back to business in this extraordinarily difficult time and to find ways to help grow the economy while protecting public health.
  • Arizona chief utility regulator calls report on APS customer programs 'scathing' as commission considers reopening 2017 rate case
    Utility Dive - June 12, 2020
    The Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission called a May 19 staff consultant's report "a scathing assessment of Arizona Public Service's (APS) customer outreach and education program." The commission is reviewing the customer education and outreach plan implemented by APS, and is considering the possibility of reopening the utility's 2017 rate case.
  • Tucson Electric Power gets an earful about how to cut greenhouse gases
    Tucson.com - June 9, 2020
    Tucson Electric Power is far more dependent on fossil fuels than the average U.S. electric utility. But the utility has committed to bringing online enough new solar and wind energy by 2021 to bring its share of renewable energy well above the national average. Now, TEP is close to releasing a plan to further boost its commitment to reduce its reliance on coal and natural gas in favor of renewable energy sources and cut heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

May 2020

  • Ariz. regulators reject blanket order for utility COVID-19 cost tracking
    SNL Canada Energy Week - Powered by Dow Jones - May 27, 2020
    The Arizona Corporation Commission decided that utilities do not need any general guidance or encouragement in seeking to recover the costs of helping their customers and employees cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 19, the agency rejected a proposal by Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson to issue a general accounting order for utilities to track and record expenses in special accounts associated with the pandemic because of the "dramatic and uncertain effects that COVID-19 is having on essential utility services." In the April 24 proposal, Marquez Peterson cited the changes that are occurring in utilities' day-to-day operations and finances, including drops in commercial loads and shifts in residential demands for services, in light of the novel coronavirus. Utilities are incurring extra expenses because they have suspended disconnections for nonpayment and have increased funding for low-income assistance programs to help customers who are staying at home and are unable to work, the commissioner said.
  • Consumers Can Expect Small Utility Refunds in June
    Prescott eNews - May 13, 2020
    Customers of Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP), and UniSource Energy Services (UNS) Electric and Gas can expect to see a small credit on their electric and gas bills in June 2020. During the Commission Regular Open Meeting in May, Commissioner Justin Olson led the Commission on the decision to issue a refund, and Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson led the Commission on the decision to accelerate the payback period to an immediate one-time payment in June, when energy bills tend to increase, so customers wouldn’t have to wait longer to receive the credits. The decisions to refund the money and accelerate the payback time frames were approved by unanimous votes of the Commission. The votes to pass the amendments proposed by Commissioners Olson and Márquez Peterson passed unanimously.
  • Coronavirus shifts Boulder County energy usage with commercial decreases recorded, more expected
    Daily Camera - Powered by Dow Jones Sam Lounsberry - May 11, 2020
    City of Boulder businesses are using substantially less energy in March alone. This reduction poses interesting challenges along with an opportunity to explore the ongoing effects of COVID-19 as they relate this shift in demand. Xcel is bracing for serious impacts to electricity sales in its current quarter with ensuing adjustments to operating and maintenance expenses to offset revenue declines. Along these lines, transportation retains its focus as noted by Matt Frommer with SWEEP. Regarding decreases in criteria pollutants, Frommer noted in an email last month, “It’s somewhat discouraging that we need a global pandemic to see these kinds of reductions, but it does give us a window into a clean air future with fewer single-occupancy gasoline vehicles and more electric and shared transportation.” Moving forward he wrote, “Any major disruption like this can be viewed as opportunity for behavior change and it’ll be interesting to see whether we resume our typical commuting habits once we restart the economy.”
  • Consumer Groups Seek Help for Jobless AZ Utility Customers
    Public News Service - May 5, 2020
    As the strain of unemployment rises in Arizona to 400k and growing, consumers look to short term emergency relief from the utilities due to current lower demand. SWEEP, and a coalition of partners, urge utilities in Arizona to provide emergency relief. The commission is expected to vote on short term relief this week.
  • Colorado Adds Medium- and Heavy-duty Vehicles to its Electrification Plans
    Charged Electric Vehicles - May 5, 2020
    As outlined in the recently introduced Colorado Energy Office 2020 EV Plan, Colorado continues to pursue ambitious goals toward transitioning all vehicles to clean, zero-pollution energy as noted by Travis Madsen of SWEEP. Economic uncertainty fueled by COVID-19 has resulted in a stalled legislative session putting several progressive EV bills on hold during the crisis.

April 2020

  • Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan Paves the Way toward 100 Percent Clean Vehicles
    EE Online - April 29, 2020
    by Travis Madsen and Matt Frommer On April 23, the Colorado Energy Office unveiled the new and improved Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan, a guiding document that sets forth the State's ambitious EV targets and outlines the programs, policies, and strategies required to transition the transportation sector to clean, zero-emission vehicles. Transportation is a leading source of climate-changing pollution in Colorado and vehicles are also a major source of soot and smog pollution that harm public health (and increase the risks posed by the pandemic.) With the new EV plan, Colorado has articulated a vision to transition all vehicles in the state to 100 percent clean energy. This is the first time the state has set a goal of moving the whole transportation sector to zero-emission technology.
  • Colorado unveils new plan to get more electric vehicles — of all sizes — onto its roads
    Colorado Sun - April 24, 2020
    For the first time, the state has outlined plans for the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. But the coronavirus brings caveats. by Tamara Chuang With gasoline hovering around $1 a gallon and the economy reeling with COVID-19 uncertainty, the state’s plan to get to one million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030 hasn’t stalled. In fact, it’s hit the gas. The Colorado Energy Office introduced its updated 2020 Electric Vehicle Plan on Thursday, which for the first time outlines the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The plan also reiterates the goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles used by state agencies, and the 2018 goal of having 940,000 light-duty EVs in Colorado by 2030. Other components include conducting an analysis of charging stations across the state. “This plan is the first time Colorado has set a goal to transition all vehicles to clean, zero-pollution energy,” said Travis Madsen, Transportation Program Director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a nonprofit based in Boulder. “That’s a big deal.”
  • State Unveils ‘Ambitious’ Roadmap To Move To Electric Vehicles, But COVID-19 Could Be An Obstacle
    Colorado Public Radio - April 24, 2020
    By Grace Hood A Chevrolet Volt plugged into a charging station Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Denver. The state of Colorado released the most comprehensive roadmap to date for how it plans to add hundreds of thousands of electric cars and trucks to the roads in the coming years, a move that would clean up the air for generations to come. "As an administration and as multiple agencies working with our partners, we're really committed to trying to move forward toward ambitious — but again, we believe ambitious — goals,” Colorado Energy Office executive director Will Toor said. Unveiled at a Colorado Electric Vehicle Coalition virtual meeting, the Colorado EV Plan 2020 seeks to add 1 million electric cars to the road by 2030, transition medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses to electric options, add more charging stations and electrify the state’s fleet of cars and trucks. For the first time, the plan states the aspirational goal of transitioning 100 percent of cars, trucks and buses to run off electricity instead of fossil fuels. An uncertain economic future could make this future more difficult to achieve. But some electric vehicle advocates say the overarching plan is critical. “The big-picture goal the plan sets is really important because it sets a long term target that we can all plan around and invest in,” said Travis Madsen, transportation program director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. Colorado is seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent over the next decade. Transportation is the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the state. As a stark reminder of just how big a polluter cars and trucks can be, Colorado meteorology supervisor Scott Landes said at the Thursday meeting that nitrogen dioxide levels in Denver had decreased nearly 28 percent during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Those levels will likely rise in the coming months as more Coloradans return to the workplace. Toor with the Colorado Energy Office said electric vehicles will play a critical role in cleaning up the air and achieving greenhouse gas reduction goals. But he added that a severe economic recession could make goals more difficult to achieve. The state is currently facing a potential $3 billion budget shortfall, and that could dry up anticipated revenue streams needed to develop the plan. And if low oil prices continue, consumers will have less of an incentive to move away from fossil fuels. “The cost savings from transition to electrification won’t be as large for some period of time. But I think there are multiple motivations that people have,” Toor said. “As we move forward the key element will be to ensure that the auto industry makes the kinds of investments they’ve been making on the R & D front and bringing additional models to market.”

March 2020

  • Failure to raise fuel tax cost Colorado billions group says
    AASHTO Journal - March 23, 2020
    A new research paper compiled by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) said that Colorado missed out on $7 billion in transportation funding since 1991, largely because the state has not raised its gas tax to keep up with inflation. The report – entitled Sustainable Transportation Funding for Colorado: Modernizing the Gas Tax to Improve Air Quality, Protect the Climate, and Save Money – recommends policy reforms to increase transportation funding, while at the same time helping Colorado build a cleaner and more efficient transportation system. “We need to do more than just raise money to improve our road network,” explained Travis Madsen, SWEEP’s transportation director and co-author of the report, in a statement. “Modernizing the gas tax can drive Colorado in a better direction.”
  • Nevada to consider transportation electrification efforts
    Transportation Today - March 16, 2020
    Nevada decision-makers and statewide transportation industry leaders gathered recently for the Nevada Transportation Electrification Forum to discuss transportation electrification and its potential benefits. The session, hosted by Plug In America, Southwest Energy Efficiency Program (SWEEP) and Clark County, stemmed from the state’s desire to address greenhouse gas emissions and unhealthy air pollution in the transportation sector." Representatives from state agencies, local governments, chambers of commerce, casinos, universities, electric utilities, solar companies, building associations, auto dealerships, and non-profit associations were among those in attendance.
  • Report: Colorado should "modernize" gas tax to raise money
    Colorado Politics - March 13, 2020
    A report from a clean-energy advocacy group found that Colorado’s revenue shortfall for transportation is due in large part to a static gas tax, and recommended raising it and indexing it to inflation. “The gas tax was a good idea when it was designed by states in the 1920s,” wrote the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project in its “Sustainable Transportation Funding for Colorado” report. “It is directly connected to road use: the more you drive, the more you pay. It also contains an inherent incentive for energy efficiency, where people who drive more efficient vehicles pay less.” The Colorado Department of Transportation has a $25 billion funding gap for infrastructure over the next 25 years, which it attributes to greater fuel efficiency of vehicles, adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles, and a 22-cent-per-gallon gas tax that has remained unchanged since 1991. SWEEP dismissed the notion that electric vehicle adoption was behind the funding shortfall, calculating that if all EVs in Colorado were instead typical internal combustion cars, gas tax revenue would increase by $40 million over five years. That is one-tenth of the revenue lost to inflation and fuel efficiency, the group stated.
  • Leader of state Energy Office touts clean power in Durango
    Durango Herald - March 12, 2020
    State legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean electricity has made Colorado a leader in environmental protection. That was the optimistic message brought to Durango on Wednesday by Will Toor, director of the Colorado Energy Office. He is the former director of the transportation program at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and a former mayor of Boulder and a Boulder County commissioner. Toor is developing a road map to Colorado’s goals under the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, a bill passed in 2019 that calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.
  • Proposed tax hike seeks to address lack of funding for roads
    White Mountain Independent - March 3, 2020
    By Howard Fischer Capital Media Services [PHOENIX, ARIZONA] — State lawmakers took the first steps to what could be a doubling of the state’s gasoline tax. HB 2899, approved by the House Transportation Committee on a 6-0 vote, would add six cents to the current 18-cent-a-gallon effective on July 1. That would go up an additional six cents every year until it hits 36 cents on July 1 2023. Potentially more significant, the measure being pushed by Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, is crafted so that the levy would increase annually starting July 1, 2024 to match inflation. That would preclude the need for future legislators to have to deal with the politically sensitive issue of voting for a tax hike. Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said that’s how Arizona got to the point where it is now, with road construction needs outstripping the available revenues because the current tax has not been increased since 1991. “We haven’t had members with the backbone to adjust this,’’ he said. But it’s that inflation adjustment that is giving heartburn to the Arizona Petroleum Marketing Association which represents gasoline dealers. Lobbyist Mike Williams told lawmakers that if the 1991 legislation had an inflation index Arizona now would have the highest gasoline tax in the Western states.

February 2020

  • Cities are starting to ban gas in buildings, Arizona's not having it
    Grist - February 27, 2020
    Like many cities around the country, Phoenix, Arizona, has a plan to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But a new state law that was fast-tracked through the Arizona legislature and signed by the governor last week could cripple Phoenix and other Arizona cities’ ability to pull their climate plans off. It only took a month for HB 2686 to go from bill to law after it was introduced on January 21. The new law prevents Arizona’s cities and towns from passing codes or ordinances that could “have the effect of restricting a person’s or entity’s ability to use the services of a utility provider.” In essence, it prohibits them from banning natural gas or other fossil fuels in buildings. The funny thing is that there’s no evidence that anyone in the state was even considering a gas ban. “No cities, that we are aware of, were even remotely looking at or considering this type of action,” Caryn Potter, the Arizona program associate for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, or SWEEP, told Grist Potter said the bill was indicative of the legislature’s fear of the “Berkeley-ization” of Arizona. While it’s true that Californians have been flocking to neighboring states in search of lower taxes and costs of living, Potter said there’s no evidence of a sea change sweeping Arizona around the politics of natural gas. “They have this idea that they have to put the cart before the horse, when the horse is not even there,” she said.
  • Arizona lawmakers considering doubling the gas tax
    NBC 12 News - February 26, 2020
    The current Arizona gas tax of 18 cents per gallon hasn't been changed since 1991. Author: Mackenzie Concepcion Published: 6:41 AM MST February 26, 2020 Updated: 6:41 AM MST February 26, 2020 PHOENIX — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would do something that hasn't been done in Arizona in almost 30 years: increase the gas tax. HB 2899, proposed by Republican Rep. Noel Campell, would double the gas tax over the next three years for standard passenger cars. The tax would increase 6 cents per year: 2021: 24 cents per gallon 2022: 30 cents per gallon 2023: 36 cents per gallon Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles would have to pay an annual tax. For electric vehicles, the fee starts at $111 in 2021, then increases to $139 in 2022, then to $166 in 2023. For hybrids, the annual tax is $45 in 2021, $56 in 2022 and $67 in 2023. After 2023, the taxes will be adjusted to reflect inflation. The current gas tax of 18 cents per gallon has not been changed since 1991, and it does not apply to alternative fuels. The money collected from the tax goes toward the Highway Patrol and maintaining state highways. But for years, lawmakers have prioritized the Highway Patrol, putting off road repairs. The Legislature tried to alleviate the issue in 2018 when it approved a new “public safety fee." It added $32 to the vehicle registration process starting in January 2019. However, the fee – which was signed into law during a statewide teacher strike – took many by surprise and was so unpopular that lawmakers eventually reached a deal to phase it out by July 2021.
  • Driven to Exhaustion: Can Denver End Its Love Affair With the Car?
    Westword - February 25, 2020
    CHASE WOODRUFF | FEBRUARY 25, 2020 | 6:07AM The hundreds of transportation nerds gathered at Bicycle Colorado’s annual Moving People Forward conference earlier this month weren’t the kind of people who need much of an excuse to get excited about a day full of panels on traffic safety, regional funding solutions and data-driven micromobility policy. But the hottest ticket at this year’s event, held at the downtown Embassy Suites on February 10, was a live taping of an episode of The War on Cars, the funny and informative podcast about the past, present and future of America’s relationship with the automobile — or, as co-host Doug Gordon put it as he took the stage, “the podcast where three New Yorkers come to Denver and tell you everything that you need to do.” After some banter, the show’s hosts welcomed their guest, 9News anchor Kyle Clark, for a conversation on the way local news covers transportation and mobility issues. At one point, Clark came clean: “I drove my SUV here this morning.”
  • Gas tax hike bill passes committee
    Eastern Arizona Courier - February 21, 2020
    PHOENIX — State lawmakers took the first steps Wednesday to what could be a doubling of the state’s gasoline tax. HB 2899, approved by the House Transportation Committee on a 6-0 vote, would add six cents to the current 18-cent-a-gallon effective on July 1. That would go up an additional six cents every year until it hits 36 cents on July 1 2023. Potentially more significant, the measure being pushed by Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, is crafted so that the levy would increase annually starting July 1, 2024 to match inflation. That would preclude the need for future legislators to have to deal with the politically sensitive issue of voting for a tax hike. Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said that’s how Arizona got to the point where it is now, with road construction needs outstripping the available revenues because the current tax has not been increased since 1991.
  • Arizona gasoline tax would double under bill advancing in House
    Tucson.com - February 20, 2020
    PHOENIX — State lawmakers took the first steps Wednesday to what could be a doubling of the state’s gasoline tax. House Bill 2899, approved by the House Transportation Committee on a 6-0 vote, would add six cents on July 1 to the current 18-cents-a-gallon tax. That would go up an additional six cents every year until it hits 36 cents. Potentially more significant, the levy would also increase annually after that to match inflation, under the measure being pushed by Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott. That would preclude the need for future legislators to deal with the politically sensitive issue of voting for a tax hike. Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said lack of political willpower is how Arizona got to the point where it is now, with road construction needs outstripping available revenues because the current tax has not increased since 1991.
  • Local Motion: Public Transit on the Western Slope
    KVNF - February 18, 2020
    By JODI PETERSON In this edition, we talk about public transit. Here on the Western Slope, distances between towns are long, and we end up mostly driving our own cars to get where we need to go. But the state of Colorado is working to make it easier to leave the car at home for trips between towns, and even to the Front Range, with its Bustang bus service. KVNF's Jodi Peterson interviews a public transit expert, the head of CDOT's Bustang service, and several passengers and drivers.

January 2020

  • APS commits to 45% renewables by 2030
    AZBIGMEDIA - January 23, 2020
    Conservation and consumer groups today welcomed Arizona Public Service’s (APS) announcement that will set the utility on a path toward 45 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free electricity by mid-century. Currently, 13 percent of the utility’s electricity is generated from renewable sources. Specifically, the utility is committing to provide 65 percent carbon-free electricity generation by 2030, with 45 percent coming from renewable resources, and to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity generation by 2050. APS will close all of its coal-fired power plants by 2031. APS joins six other major electric utilities throughout the United States that have voluntarily committed to 100 percent clean energy: Avista (2045), Duke Energy (2050), Green Mountain Power (2025), Idaho Power (2045), Public Service Company of New Mexico (2040), and Xcel Energy (2050).
  • Microgrids Deliver Resiliency, Security and Savings
    loT World Today - January 17, 2020
    The term microgrid suggests thinking small, but the big picture for these IoT-based energy technologies is how they could revolutionize the distribution of electrical energy around the world. Microgrids—often also referred to as smart grids—are essentially subsets of the larger electrical utility grids, designed to give organizations greater control over their energy resources and to make better use of utility-provided energy in conjunction with locally produced power.
  • Tri-State rolls out its plan to expand renewable energy across Colorado
    Colorado Politics - January 15, 2020
    Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association formally announced Wednesday the news that broke last week at the state Capitol. The outfit that supplies rural electric co-ops is going green after weathering for years the perception by some members and environmental critics that it was resistant to renewable energy in favor of coal. Now it’s aiming to give up coal as a source of energy.
  • Coming To Your Town: New Homes Built To Be EV-Ready
    CleanTechnica - January 14, 2020
    The US will need 9.6 million new electric vehicle charging ports by 2030. Where will all those chargers be located? According to recent research, almost 80% of those will be in single and multi-family residential buildings. That’s a big change. Homes in the US are typically built with wiring for only a few 240W outlets in the garage, just enough to handle a washer and dryer. But the International Code Council (ICC) has foreseen the need for this radical increase in EV chargers, and it approved changes to building standards in a 2020 provision that will allow all new homes built in the US to be EV-ready.
  • New U.S. Building Codes Require Plugs for Electric Cars
    Quartz - January 10, 2020
    In January, the International Code Council (ICC) approved changes to building standards that preview a world in which every home has at least one electric car. The building standards organization, which sets voluntary guidelines for new homes, voted to approve a new provision that, functionally, will make all new homes built in the US “EV-ready.” SWEEP designed and advocated for the new code.
  • These New Building Codes Could Finally Ensure New Houses are Ready for Charging Electric Vehicles
    EE Online - January 8, 2020
    Electric cars are the future of personal vehicles – they’re more efficient than conventional gasoline options, cost far less to operate, and enable significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicle (EV) sales are growing quickly; some experts predict they will account for more than 11% of new sales in the United States by 2025, and a majority of sales by 2040. To support this market shift, we need to rethink our transportation infrastructure, and especially how we fuel – or charge – our vehicles.
  • Nevada Energy's solar energy plan touted by environmental groups, criticized by others
    The Center Square - January 3, 2020
    Environmental groups are backing a plan by Nevada Energy to add new solar renewable energy projects and energy storage capacity to the state. The plan, approved early last month by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, will add 1,190 megawatts of new solar renewable energy projects to Nevada -- capable of powering about 230 homes -- as well as another 590 megawatts of energy storage capacity, and cost about $55 million.