Growth Energy comments on Colorado’s GHG reduction roadmap

By Erin Voegele | November 23, 2020

Growth Energy on Nov. 20 announced it has submitted comments to the Colorado Energy Office on its draft Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap, which details energy action steps the state can take to meet its near-term greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals.

The state aims to reduce GHG pollution by 26 percent by 2025, ramping up to 50 percent by 2030, when compared to baseline 2005 levels. A public comment draft of the roadmap was released on Sept. 30, with public comments accepted through Nov. 12.

The draft roadmap, which spans nearly 175 pages, identifies transportation, electricity generation, oil and gas production and buildings as the largest sources of GHG pollution in Colorado. According to the roadmap, achieving the 2025 and 2030 GHG reduction targets is feasible with existing technologies, but will require actions and policies beyond those the state has already taken. In order to reach the goals, the agency said the state will have to rely on deep reductions in pollution from electricity generation by continuing to transition to renewables. Deep reductions in methane pollution from the oil and gas industry are also needed. The roadmap also identifies changes to transportation planning and infrastructure to reduce growth in driving as an important emissions reduction tool. Electrification of end uses in buildings and transportation would also be needed. To reach its GHG reduction targets, the state would also have to reduce methane emissions from landfills, sewage plants and other resources.

For transportation, the roadmap identifies three primary policy transitions that would be needed: Transitioning to close to 100 percent electric cars by 2050 and 100 percent market share for new vehicles sales of zero emissions trucks and buses by 2050; adopting lower carbon fuels, including advanced biofuels, renewable natural gas (RNG), and hydrogen for aviation and some heavy trucks; and expanding efforts in public transit, transportation demand management, and wise land use planning to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

In developing the roadmap, state agencies considered the implementation of a Clean Fuels Standard, but did not recommend that the CFS be part of the near-term action agenda for the state. Rather, the roadmap suggests further evaluation of a CFS.

In his comments on the roadmap, Chris Bliley, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, highlighted three key biorefineries in Colorado (Front Range Energy, Sterling Ethanol, and Yuma Ethanol) as prime examples of local renewable energy sources that are helping the state reduce GHG emissions through each gallon of ethanol.

“As we have continued to advocate, a primary solution for cleaning up the liquid fuel supply is the promotion of additional use of ethanol, from starch or cellulosic sources,” he wrote. “According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, today’s starch ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an average of 39 percent, and with further development of cellulosic and other technologies, biofuels are poised to do much more.”

Bliley also argues that higher blends of ethanol can be immediately deployed throughout Colorado, which will provide greater environmental benefits while reducing consumer costs at the pump. Bliley also highlighted that it is important for state leadership to hear from ethanol producers, especially when regulations are being considered to address climate change.

Read Growth Energy’s full comments here.

Additional information on the draft roadmap is available on the Colorado Energy Office website.