Small-scale hydro bill passes state House |

Small-scale hydro bill passes state House

Diane Mitsch Bush
John F. Russell

— The Colorado House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, that seeks to streamline the process for small-scale hydroelectric operations.

Mitsch Bush worked with Don Coram, R-Montrose, to draft House Bill 14-1030, which would apply to facilities that produce 10 megawatts of energy or less.

The first section of the bill, Mitsch Bush said, reduces red tape for the small hydroelectric projects while the second section coordinates the permitting process through the Colorado Energy Office rather than requiring the water rights holder to individually contact state and federal agencies.

Mitsch Bush said the hope is to stimulate small, rural hydroelectric businesses and also potentially lower electric bills for some users.

“The bill was the result of a broad and inclusive stakeholder process that included utilities, conservation groups, small hydroelectric producers and electric contractors,” Mitsch Bush said in a news release. “I was delighted to work with Rep. Coram on the bill and to see it pass with broad support in its current form.”

The bill passed the House, 62-3, and now moves to the Senate.

Birthday bill bonanza

On Monday, Mitsch Bush celebrated her 64th birthday and the passage of three bills in the state House.

A bill to continue the Natural Areas Council was approved on a voice vote, according to a news release.

Another bill would allow statutory cities, such as Oak Creek and Yampa, to compensate planning commission members if they so choose. It passed, 41-22.

Finally, House Bill 14-1125 was approved unanimously. The bill allows homeowners associations to share residents’ contact information with other association members if consent is given.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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