Summit County leaders seek amendments to state bill aimed at mandating electric car charging capacities
Summit County leaders are hoping to see amendments made to a state bill aimed at improving electric vehicle readiness.
The bill, which is titled Resource Efficiency Buildings Electric Vehicles, aims to increase the number of electric car parking spots in newly constructed buildings. While the intent behind the bill matches Summit County’s sustainability goals, Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said it gets in the way of work that is already being done locally since Summit County has already done a lot of work planning these things.
“I hate this bill,” Lawrence said at a Summit Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, April 26. “We’re already doing good (electric vehicle) work here.”
Lawrence added that her concerns relate to affordability, especially when it comes to building additional workforce housing.
If passed, the bill would require contractors to offer more resource efficiency options when constructing certain buildings, according to the bill’s summary. Specifically, the bill requires commercial buildings and multi-family residences, like apartment complexes and condominiums, to ensure that 10% of parking spaces offer charging for electric cars.
The 10% requirement applies only to buildings that are 25,000 square feet or more.
Larger projects — with more than 40,000 square feet of floor space in more than one building and at least “25 or more sets of living quarters or commercial units” — would have to have the space and capacity in the electrical facilities to increase electric car charging ports to 50% of the building’s parking spots.
Lawrence said she thinks the bill is lacking some definition around commercial areas, as well as making it difficult for large hotels or apartment buildings to be built due to these mandates.
Lawrence prefers the work that Summit County has already done to improve the prevalence of electric vehicles since they have been part of the county’s climate action goals for years.
Transportation accounts for a third of the carbon emissions in Summit County, and it is the top source of carbon emissions in the state, according to the High Country Conservation Center reports.
The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that Colorado’s Zero Emissions Vehicle standard, which requires auto companies to provide more electric options, will reduce transportation emissions by 1 million metric tons starting in 2025.
The county has committed itself to being a GoEV community. The distinction is part of a national campaign that aims to have cities and towns operate on 100% electric and zero-emissions vehicles by 2050.
Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Summit County governments have all adopted the goal.
Both Summit Stage, which is operated by the Summit County government, and the Breckenridge Free Ride have begun adding more electric buses, and all of the towns have made movement toward transitioning their car fleets to be electric.
The High Country Conservation Center has also created a guidebook for “EV Readiness” in Summit County in partnership with local ski resorts, Xcel Energy, ReCharge Colorado and the local town and county governments.
The plan includes a goal to have 420 public and workspace charging ports throughout the community by 2030.
“What we’ve laid out makes a lot of sense,” Lawrence said. “ … I don’t need the state telling us what to do as far as EVs when we’re already doing it.”
Lawrence said she ultimately supports the idea of making Colorado more EV friendly, but she is waiting for some clarification regarding the bill and would like to see input from municipalities incorporated into the final draft.
Commissioner Tamara Pogue agreed with Lawrence’s views and said a bill like this might be needed to help communities inch closer to climate goals.
“We’re going to need more infrastructure than we’ve got right now,” Pogue said. “It’s going to have to come from somewhere.”
The bill has been introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives. It will need to pass through the house then the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jared Polis before becoming law.
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