By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The SUN
Community ownership, community projects and economic development will be celebrated on Friday, May 30 when Pagosa Springs hosts Gov. John Hickenlooper as he signs HB14-1222 into law. The ceremony will be held at Centennial Park beginning at 12:15 p.m.
Along with the governor, other dignitaries in attendance will be Sen. Michael Bennet; Rep. Scott Tipton; Colorado Rep. Mike McLachlan; and Doug Hollet, director of geothermal technology for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Titled “Clean Energy Private Activity Bonds,” HB14-1222 pertains specifically to geothermal generation and clean energy projects helping to mitigate financial risk and enables local ownership of geothermal production.
The bill modifies prior Colorado statute 30-20-1203, which supported clean energy projects and financing. Clean energy projects include qualifying geothermal, solar, small hydroelectric, hydrogen, biomass or wind facilities smaller than 50MW.
The bill was sponsored in the House by McLachlan and in the Senate by Majority Whip Gail Schwartz of District 5 and Ellen Roberts of District 6.
Municipalities and agencies can use the bond revenues to provide loans for a variety of activities and facilities for these clean energy projects. Private activity bonds often have lower interest rates than conventional loans as the interest on the bonds is tax exempt. While private activity bonds are issued by local governments, project developers are responsible for the repayment of the bond. Private activity bonds engage a range of participants including land owners, the borrower, local government, a commercial bank entity, an investment bank and a bond counsel. These bonds will enhance clean energy economic development projects in Pagosa Springs and throughout Colorado.
With at least two clean energy projects in the works, Pagosa Springs is a fitting location for the governor to sign HB14-1222. Centennial Park is the future site for the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s community greenhouses. The ceremony is open to the public and all citizens are invited to attend.
South 5th Street leading to the parking area behind the Archuleta County Courthouse will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 30 by order of Pagosa Springs Police Chief Bill Rockensock. Parking in the lot adjacent to the courthouse at the corner of U.S. 160 and 5th Street will be available.