March 2024 Resiliency Conversation: Remaining Energized through Uncertain and Challenging Times

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Considerations about how we source, produce, and consume energy and the ramifications of these actions, span across all sectors and priorities of our Colorado Resilience Framework. From the economic opportunities that become available when a sustainable energy startup establishes in our state, to the adoption of more efficient agricultural practices and equipment in rural Colorado, to initiatives that reduce the higher energy cost burdens experienced by lower-income and vulnerable populations, it is nearly impossible to talk about resiliency without also talking about energy.

Resiliency planning, or the ability to think about risks and worst case scenarios for communities, with the goal of lessening the impacts and coming back stronger, requires its own energy. This energy, with an undercurrent of optimism, inspires new ideas, processes, and technologies; catalyzes action; and enables political and community leaders to work collaboratively to imagine stronger communities and a stronger Colorado.

As climate-related extreme weather events, including wildfires, winter storms, and floods are becoming more common, emerging technologies, policies, and practices regarding energy use like building weatherization and decarbonization; widespread adoption of electric vehicles and micro-mobility; and expansion of clean and renewable energy resources, can alleviate and slow down some near and long-term impacts of climate change. Investment in and development of microgrids as well as expanding reliance on renewables can minimize disruption during challenging events and disasters, and enable faster recovery after the fact.

Did You Know?

There are several programs and initiatives to inspire innovative energy use and production.

  • Microgrid Resilience: The Colorado Resiliency Office’s Microgrid for Community Resilience (MCR) program is accepting applications for planning and construction grants through June 13, 2024. Please visit the MCR program website for details.
  • Tax incentives for the tax-exempt: The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) established a new tax incentive program that enables tax-exempt entities to access clean energy tax incentives that previously would have only been available to tax-paying entities. The direct pay option will allow local governments, public utilities, and entities like rural electric cooperatives to pursue renewable energy projects like installing energy facilities, converting fleet vehicles to low or zero-emissions, or installing Electric Vehicle charging stations to receive a refund equal to the amount of the coinciding tax credit.
  • Energy Code Funding: The Legislature appropriated $4 million for the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) to provide funding to local governments for energy code adoption and enforcement, energy code training, and technical assistance, along with $21 million to support decarbonization of public buildings and communities with a focus on incentives for lower income households and historically disadvantaged communities. The CEO also funds technical assistance for local governments to assist with adoption and enforcement of the latest building energy codes and stretch codes. Anyone interested in training or technical assistance can fill out a request.The Energy Code Board website provides more information and includes an Energy Code Adoption Toolkit that can be utilized alongside these other resources.
  • Inflation Reduction Act Home Energy Rebates: The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is developing two rebate programs that will provide funding for income-qualified Colorado homeowners and renters to improve home energy efficiency and upgrade to electric appliances. These upgrades will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve indoor and outdoor air quality, and reduce residents’ heating and cooling costs.
  • Automated Permit Processing for Solar: The CEO’s Automated Permit Processing for Solar (APPS) grant program offers financial assistance to local and tribal governments to implement automated online solar permitting software, such as SolarAPP+ or Symbium. This type of software speeds up the permitting process for residential solar projects, ensuring that Coloradans who have invested in rooftop solar panels can start benefiting from them as quickly as possible. It also saves local governments and solar installers time normally spent processing permits and makes communities more solar-friendly.

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Learn More About Resiliency in Colorado

To learn more about how state agencies are working together to strengthen resiliency across Colorado, and how the Colorado Resiliency Office is facilitating strategic action, please visit the Colorado Resiliency Office's website and be sure to check out the CRO's newsletters.