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Colorado Chamber Asks AQCC to Reopen Rulemaking on Early Power Plant Closures

For media inquiries, please contact Cynthia Meyer at cmeyer@cochamber.com.

DENVER – The Colorado Chamber’s Energy and Environment Council has asked the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to reopen the rulemaking process regarding the voluntary shutdown of power plants by electric utility companies. In a letter sent to commissioners on Friday, December 11, the chamber raised several concerns about how a recent decision by AQCC will create industry uncertainty and impact energy affordability and reliability.

Earlier this year, electric utilities worked with agency staff to develop plans to reduce emissions and voluntarily agreed to shut down certain power plans well ahead of schedule to demonstrate their commitment to a clean energy future. Instead of accepting these plans, this month the commission unilaterally accelerated the plant closings by a year, and in some cases many years – while also leaving open the possibility to revisit the closure dates in the future, creating regulatory uncertainty for utility companies.

“Those utility decisions were based on careful analysis of a number of factors, including the need to maintain reliable service at affordable costs,” the letter states. “And each of those utilities is developing broad plans to transition to renewable energy resources.”

The Colorado Chamber raised several concerns, including that the Public Utilities Commission – not the AQCC – is a more appropriate state agency to handle these complex decisions, as it has been the primary entity that has evaluated utilities’ resource plans to ensure affordability and reliability in energy transmission. The chamber also does not believe the AQCC has the statutory authority to mandate power plant closures – that authority falls only with the federal government.

The Colorado Chamber represents hundreds of businesses of all sizes across Colorado, more than 35 local chambers of commerce, and over 40 associations and economic development organizations. Among the Chamber’s membership are major operators in Colorado’s energy sector that are directly impacted by the decisions of the AQCC and who have worked collaboratively with the AQCC for many years.

The letter requests rulemaking be reopened for stakeholder engagement in the next AQCC meeting on Wednesday, December 16. The view the letter in full, click here.

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The Colorado Chamber of Commerce champions free enterprise, a healthy business environment and economic prosperity for all Coloradans. It is the only business association that works to improve the business climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective. What the Colorado Chamber accomplishes is good for all businesses, and that’s good for the state’s economy. It was created in 1965 based on the merger with the Colorado Manufacturers’ Association.