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Combined Heat and Power Partnership

Colorado Renewable Portfolio Standard

Date Last Updated8/1/2014
Policy TypePortfolio Standard
Policy Administrator/Contact OfficeColorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
Policy Initiation Date12/4/2004
Policy SummaryColorado's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) includes renewably-fueled CHP and waste-heat-to-power as eligible resources. It is defined as ?recycled energy? within the RPS and includes a capacity limit of 15MW to maintain eligibility. There are two separate targets under Colorado's RPS, one for investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and one for cooperatives and municipal utilities. For IOUs, the RPS calls for 3% of retail electricity sales in Colorado to come from renewable electricity in 2007, increasing to 30% in 2020 and each year thereafter. For cooperatives and municipal utilities, the RPS calls for 1% of retail electricity sales on Colorado to come from renewable electricity in the years 2008-2010, increasing to 10% in 2020 and each year thereafter.

For IOUs, there is a separate distributed generation (DG) carve-out, 3% of retail electricity sales in 2020 and one must come from either wholesale DG or retail DG. The DG carve-out targets first began in 2011 and 2012. At least half of the DG requirement must come from retail DG systems located on-site at customers' facilities. In 2013, Senate Bill 252 extends a DG requirement for generation and transmission cooperatives. Co-ops that provide service to less than 10,000 meters at least 0.75% of its retail sales must come from DG by 2020. For Co-ops serving 10,000 meters or more, 1% of retail sales must come from distributed generation by 2020. The DG requirement may also be rescinded in 2015 if the CPUC finds that the target is no longer in the public interest. CHP systems can qualify under either the retail or wholesale portion of the IOU standard. "Retail Distributed Generation" is defined as a "resource that is located on the site of a customer's facilities and is interconnected to the customer's side of the meter." This includes all renewable energy systems that participate in net metering. "Wholesale distributed generation" is defined as a "resource in Colorado with a nameplate capacity rating of 30 MW or less and that does not qualify as retail distributed generation." DG systems with a nameplate capacity >1 MW must be registered with a REC tracking system which will be selected by the PUC.

Tradable renewable energy credits (RECs) must be used by utilities to satisfy the standard. One REC is equal to 1 kWh. The following credit multipliers are available to utilities in the state:
  • Each kWh of eligible electricity generated in-state, other than retail DG, can receive 125% credit for RPS-compliance purposes.
  • Electricity generated at a "community-based project" (a project <30 MW that is located in Colorado and owned by individual residents of a community, an organization or cooperative that is controlled by individual residents, or a local government entity or tribal council) can receive 150% credit for RPS-compliance purposes.
  • Projects <30 MW that are interconnected to electrical transmission or distribution lines owned by a cooperative or municipal utility, which are installed prior to December 31, 2014, can receive 200% credit for RPS-compliance purposes. "With the exception of investor-owned utilities using this multiplier, it is only available for the first 100 MW of projects statewide."
CHP Eligibility RequirementsRenewably-fueled CHP systems and "recycled energy" (i.e., waste-heat-to-power) qualify under the RPS. "Recycled Energy," is defined as "energy produced by a generation unit with a nameplate capacity of not more than 15 MW that converts the otherwise lost energy from the heat from exhaust stacks or pipes to electricity and that does not combust additional fossil fuel."
Eligible Project Size (MW)Recycled energy system (waste-heat-to-power) projects <15 MW are eligible. There is no size limit for renewably-fueled CHP.
Minimum Efficiency Required/
Other Performance Requirements
Does Not Specify
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