In the face of protests from Republicans, the Colorado House proposed a policy requiring electric vehicle charging equipment in large residential and commercial buildings.
The latest version of House Bill 22-1218, sponsored by Representative Alex Valdez, a Denver Democrat, would require new commercial buildings above a certain size to have electric vehicle charging for at least 10% of their spaces. parking. New multi-family apartment buildings would require electric vehicle charging infrastructure for 20% of their parking spaces.
Electric vehicle charging requirements would mainly apply to new developments – minor renovation projects on existing buildings would be exempt.
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HB-1218 would also require new buildings to include electrical system capability to expand electric vehicle charging to more parking spaces in the future. Builders, master electricians and architects would be responsible for meeting these requirements when planning and supervising electrical wiring and construction.
Representative Andres Pico, a Republican from Colorado Springs, argued that by imposing new regulations on developers, HB-1218 would create more barriers to affordable housing construction, exacerbating an existing housing crisis in the state. It would also increase demand for electricity at a time of skyrocketing energy costs, he said.
“It’s a cost that public services have to bear, and it’s a cost that has to be passed on to everyone,” Pico said on the House floor. “It adds an extra cost on utilities that we will all have to pay whether you have an electric car or not.”
This should not be an air quality denial legislative session.
Other Republicans, including Minority Leader Hugh McKean and Rep. Dan Woog of Erie, have argued that the choice of whether or not to install electric vehicle infrastructure should be left to manufacturers responding to market demand and that a government mandate would lead to higher costs for consumers.
“(Electric) cars are coming, and we want to make sure the infrastructure is there in new buildings,” Valdez said in response to those concerns. He noted that it would cost a lot more to retrofit buildings later than having the infrastructure already in place when electric cars became the vehicles of choice for a majority of consumers.
Valdez also pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed to downgrade the Denver metro area from a “serious” to “severe” violator of ozone health standards. Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emitted from gasoline-powered vehicles and other sources combine with sunlight to create ground-level ozone.
“This shouldn’t be an air quality denier legislative session,” agreed Rep. Matt Gray, a Democrat from Broomfield.
Lawmakers on the House Energy and Environment Committee voted 8-3 on April 14 to return HB-1218 to the entire House of Representatives, Republican Representatives Perry Will of New Castle, Woog and Pico voting “no”. Representatives Dave Williams, a Republican from Colorado Springs, and Ron Hanks, a Republican from Cañon City, were both excused for the committee vote. The bill passed the House in a first voice vote on Tuesday and will get another recorded vote before going to the Senate for consideration.
Supporters of HB-1218 include the Colorado Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group; California-based electric vehicle infrastructure company ChargePoint; the Colorado Rural Electric Association representing electric cooperatives; and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, which advocates for more efficient energy use in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Opponents include Weld County; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 111; the Colorado Competitive Council, an affiliate of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; the Denver Metro Building Owners and Managers Association; and the International Council of Shopping Centres.