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Two new analyses rank Colorado third and fourth in nation for its energy transformations.

 

Two new reports have identified Colorado among the top states for decarbonization work.

Continuing a now familiar theme, both analyses place Colorado as something of an island in the nation’s interior, with nearly all other top-contending states being along the coasts or proximate to them.

For transportation, the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy ranked Colorado third, behind California and New York.

California came in high above all others for the second year in the ranking as it excels in advancing equity, establishing electrification standards, and preparing the grid for increased EV sales, said ACEEE.

Colorado, according to the 2023 State Transportation Electrification Scoreboard, showed the most improvement in scores.

California received 88 points, New York 62, Colorado 61, while Massachusetts and Vermont were at 57.

“Third-place Colorado performed well overall and scored particularly well in optimizing its electricity grid for EVs,” said ACEEE. “It performed well in most categories and is investing considerably in electrifying HD (heavy duty) vehicles, including its transit bus fleet. Colorado also adopted Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) for HD EVs.

Alphabet soup anyone?

See the report here.

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Colorado scored well in an analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute for the progress made toward national emissions reduction targets. See that report here.

“Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado are leading the charge with comprehensive, economy-wide climate coverage,” says RMI under the heading of “economy-wide polices in leader states.”

“Washington has a carbon-pricing program, and Colorado recently passed a slew of tax credits to accelerate the uptake of clean technologies across sectors.”

RMI also cited Colorado for demonstrating leadership by “incentivizing the use of clean hydrogen in high-impact industrial end uses.” It also said that those states not keeping pace should look to Colorado, which it said is about 65% of the way to a NDC (nationally determined contribution)-aligned goal. It pointed to significant work to contain emissions in the oil and gas sector.

Time for self-congratulations? Not exactly. If you study the RMI analysis more deeply, its models project that Colorado’s economic wide emissions in 2030 will be 34% below 2005 levels based on current policy. That’s significantly less than Colorado’s goal of 50% reduction by 2030. See the RMI analysis here.

Ari Rosenblum, communications manager for the Colorado Energy Office, pointed out that RMI’s scorecard does not take into account new policies adopted by Colorado legislators in their 2023 session. Nor, he added, did it account for future rulemaking.

“Implementing these policies will continue to reduce emissions from Colorado’s most polluting sectors,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Colorado is also currently working with RMI to develop a more state-specific assessment of Colorado’s progress toward its 2030 emissions reduction goal. That assessment will help identify additional steps the state can take to meet post-2030 emissions targets and ensure Colorado stays on track toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Allen Best
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