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Colorado Energy Policy Simulator

The Colorado Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) is a free and open-source computer model created by Energy Innovation LLC and RMI. It is adapted from software originally created by Energy Innovation LLC.

Model Download

The Colorado Energy Policy Simulator may be used on this website through your web browser, or the full version may be downloaded to your computer by clicking the button below. Note that you will need to go through the steps explained on the EPS download page in order to install the required software and make use of the downloadable version of the model.

Download the Colorado Energy Policy Simulator

U.S. State EPS Methodology

The U.S. State EPS Methodology page details our basic modeling assumptions, data sources, and methodology by sector. Additionally, we include information on the business-as-usual (BAU) and nationally determined contribution (NDC) scenario assumptions.

Roadmap Baseline Scenario Documentation

The table below documents the policies included in the Roadmap Baseline Scenario ("Policy/Strategy" column) and the approach for modeling them in the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) ("Modeled as…" column). The Roadmap Baseline scenario includes policies on the books in Colorado or expected to be on the books by about the end of 2023 to assess the impact of Colorado's climate policy portfolio. This scenario builds upon the EPS Business-as-Usual (BAU), the model foundation that uses publicly available data to capture projected changes in economic growth, technology and fuel costs, and existing policy commitments.

Note that in some cases, we have to translate policies into a representative use of EPS policy levers, so the text in the "Modeled as…" column does not always perfectly reflect the policy mechanism that exists in Colorado. However, the goal is to use EPS policy levers to reasonably reflect the effect of the Colorado-specific mechanism.

Policies in black text are included in the Roadmap Baseline scenario modeling. Policies in

**green text** are provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that were integrated into the Roadmap Baseline scenario using EPS levers.
SECTORPOLICY/STRATEGYMODELED AS…
Electricity- (A) Resource usage necessary to achieve sector targets in HB21-1266
- (B) Xcel retirement of Comanche Unit 3
- (C) Funding for geothermal electricity from HB23-1252 grant program and HB23-1272 tax credits
- (D) IIJA Section no. 41001 projected to increase storage capacity online by 2026
- (A) As a proxy and to match the state’s modeled emission reductions as a result of Clean Energy Plans using data available in mid-2023, Clean Electricity Standard lever is set to 80% with the implementation schedule ramping up fully from 2022 to 2030. To represent the ramp-down of coal and ensure the model also captures the complete absence of coal generation after 2030, it is necessary to set the Early Retirement of Coal lever to 50 MW annually from 2025 through 2030. Note that the 80% Clean Electricity Standard value avoids double-counting 2030 emissions reductions associated with the Early Retirement lever.
- (B) Additional early retirement of 0.25 GW of coal in 2031
- (C) Subsidy for geothermal electricity capacity construction set to 14% between 2023 and 2025. Subsidy for electricity production from geothermal set to $3/MWh for 2024–2032.
- (D) Grid-Scale Electricity Storage set at 8% ramping up fully by 2026.
Buildings- (A) Clean Heat Plan legislation, SB21-264, assuming the 2030 gas consumption reduction is less than the 22% emissions target but above what would likely occur if all utilities reduced emissions in line with the cost cap established by the law
- (A) As proxies to represent the mix of gas consumption and emissions reduction strategies possible under Clean Heat Plans (CHPs), the Building Component Electrification lever is set to 65% for all appliances, and the Building Energy Efficiency lever is set to 25% for all building types, with the implementation schedule for both ramping up fully from 2021 to 2030. The modeling assumes that other major buildings sector policies (including HB22-1362, Building Performance Colorado, Building Electrification Plans, and HB23-1161) do not lead to substantial emissions impacts that are additional to what CHPs achieve, instead contributing to and enabling CHP achievement. Under that assumption, the Roadmap Baseline Scenario does not directly include buildings sector policies other than CHPs.
Transportation- (A) Existing state EV tax credit and HB23–1272 extension
- (B) Compliance with 2021 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) rulemaking
- (C) ACT and Low NOx rules for medium and heavy-duty vehicles
- (D) IRA Section no. 60101 supports addition of clean heavy-duty vehicles
- (E) IIJA Section no. 30018, 71101 supports replacement and addition of school buses with clean vehicles
- (F) Compliance with the Advanced Clean Cars (LEV/ZEV) standard in effect and Advanced Clean Cars II rule for passenger vehicles through 2032
- (G) HB23-1281 tax credit for clean hydrogen
- (H) HB23-1272 tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel
- (I) SB21-260 investments in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and fleet electrification
- (J) IRA Section no.11101 and 11401 provide grants
- (A) Electric vehicle subsidy lever set to 13% with an implementation schedule that matches tax credit values from 2020 through 2028.
- (B) Mode shifting lever for passenger vehicles set to 12% to model 9% LDV vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction below BAU by 2050. To match CDOT analysis, the implementation schedule increases from 0% in 2021 to 81% in 2030 with full implementation by 2050.
- (C), (D) & (E) EV Sales Standard lever for Buses, Light Commercial Trucks, and Heavy and Medium Duty Trucks set to 46%. Implementation schedule matches Energy Innovation’s modeling of ACT, ramping fully from 2022 to 2035 and holding steady to 2050.
- (F) ACC and ACCII ZEV: EV Sales Standard lever set, for Cars and SUVs, to 82% with implementation schedule that matches ACCII percentages 2026–2032 inclusive and is then increased slightly to reflect additional impacts of federal EV tax credits. 2032 implementation held constant through 2050. ACCII LEV: Fuel Economy Standard lever set, for Cars and SUVs, to 68% with an implementation schedule ramping up partially from 2020 to 2026 (to match ACC), increasing to full implementation in 2032, and holding steady to 2050 to match the state's % emission reductions from 2026–2032.
- (G) Hydrogen Vehicle Sales for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles set to 9% by 2050. Implementation increases from 0% to 12% 2023–2030, and 50% implementation occurs by 2050, to align with NREl analysis on truck decarbonization pathways.
- (H) Linear decrease in aviation emissions by approximately 5% by 2032 (using mode shifting lever as a proxy for sustainable aviation fuel impact and assuming 50% of sustainable aviation fuel produced in-state will be consumed in-state) Implementation increases from 0% in 2023 to full implementation by 2032.
- (I) & (J) These policies are not modeled using a lever. Instead, we adjust the model’s input data on charging costs underlying the BAU to represent increased funding for chargers.
Industry- (A) Strong compliance with requirements for oil and gas in AQCC Regulation 7, extrapolating impacts from APCD and EDF analysis
- (B) SB22-198 and Financial Assurance Rules, which provide funding mechanisms for the remediation of orphaned wells
- (C) IIJA Section no. 40601 funds remediation and plugging of orphaned well sites
- (D) State hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) regulations
- (E) GEMM Phase I rulemaking, which requires four heavy-emitting industrial facilities to demonstrate compliance with emissions reductions targets through an audit process
- (F) GEMM Phase II rulemaking, which requires about 20 facilities to demonstrate compliance with 20% emissions reduction by 2030 relative to 2015
- (G) HB23-1281 tax credit for clean hydrogen
- (H) HB23-1272 tax credits for industrial facility clean energy investments
- (I) HB22 – 1355 Extended Producer Responsibility program, which requires companies that sell paper products to fund statewide recycling program to recycle those materials
- (A), (B), & (C) In order to approximate emissions abatement from RMI and CDPHE analysis on the Intensity Standard and additional portions of Regulation 7, the following levers are pulled:
    -Methane Capture for Oil and Gas Extraction and Energy Pipelines and Gas Processing to 100% with implementation increasing from 0% in 2021 to 67% in 2025 to full implementation in 2030.
    - Methane Destruction for Oil and Gas Extraction and Energy Pipelines and Gas Processing set to 67% with implementation increasing from 0% in 2021 to full implementation in 2030.
    - Industry Energy Efficiency Standards for Oil and Gas Extraction set to 13% with implementation schedule increasing from 0% in 2021 to full implementation in 2030.
- (D) F-Gas Substitution, Destruction, and Recovery levers are set to 70% with implementation increasing from 15% in 2021 to full implementation in 2027 to match APCD’s economic impact analysis on Regulation 22, Part (B). It is assumed that beyond 2027, Regulation 22’s impact will not be additional to the impacts of the federal AIM Act.
- (E) & (F) Industry Energy Efficiency lever set to 5% and 15% for industrial categories impacted by GEMM Phase I and Phase II respectively with implementation schedule increasing from 0% in 2022 to full implementation in 2030. These levers are set to match annual expected abatement of ~0.65 MMT CO2e by 2030 for both GEMM Phase I and GEMM Phase II).
- (G) Incentive assumed to create demand pull that leads to an industry shift to hydrogen aligned with 33% achievement of NDC pathway and on the same timeline. Electrification + Hydrogen (Medium and High Temperature) lever is ramped up from 0% in 2029 to full implementation in 2050.
- (H) Industry Energy Efficiency lever set to 2% for Industry Categories not covered by GEMM Phase I and GEMM Phase II with implementation schedule increasing from 0% in 2023 to full implementation in 2032.
- (I) Material Efficiency, Longevity and Reuse for Water and Waste set to 2% and implementation schedule increased from 0% in 2022 to full implementation in 2027 to match analysis from the EPA WARM model. Modeling attributes 10% of abatement to avoided emissions that would have otherwise resulted from landfill disposal/degradation into landfill gas.
Land use, Agriculture, & Waste- (A) Support for Colorado's healthy soils programs via SB21-235 as well as HB21-1181
- (A) Cropland and Rice Measures lever set to 25% with implementation ramping up fully from 2021 to 2050.

Near Term Actions Scenario Documentation

The table below documents the policies included in the Near Term Actions Scenario (“Policy/Strategy” columns) and the approach for modeling them in the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) (“Modeled as…” columns). The Near Term Actions scenario builds on progress represented in the Roadmap Baseline scenario with the addition of “Near Term Actions” listed in the Roadmap.

Note that in some cases, we have to translate policies into a representative use of EPS policy levers, so the text in the "Modeled as…" column does not always perfectly reflect the policy mechanism that exists in Colorado. However, the goal is to use EPS policy levers to reasonably reflect the effect of the Colorado-specific mechanism.

SECTORPOLICY/STRATEGYMODELED AS…
Electricity- (A) Update Clean Energy Planning for 2040
- (B) 2030 Clean Energy Plans and other resource plans in process during late 2023 but not finalized by December 2023
- (A) & (B) To build on existing modeling for 2030 Clean Energy Plans, the Clean Electricity Standard lever is set at 100% in 2040. 2030 implementation is set at 82.6% in order to represent state analysis on 2030 electricity sector emissions projected using most recent utility plans submitted as of December 2023.
Buildings- (A) Develop 2035 Clean Heat Targets- (A) The Building Component Electrification lever is adjusted to represent building on 2030 CHPs to align with a pathway to achieve a 90% reduction in buildings sector gas consumption by 2050. This reduction could be modeled on by increasing the sales of all-electric building components by about 8% every 5 years through 2050, so the lever is set at 73% in 2035 to build on the 65% value in 2030. The modeling assumes that the other major buildings sector Near Term Actions do not lead to substantial emissions impacts that are additional to what 2035 CHPs achieve, instead contributing to and enabling their achievement.
Transportation- (A) Clean Miles Standard, which will require transportation network companies and potentially other high mileage fleets to achieve 80% electric vehicle stock by 2030 and 100% by 2035- (A) EV Sales Standard lever kept at 82% with implementation schedule adjusted slightly to model an additional ~3% (calculated using state data on travel demand from TNCs) of Colorado’s fleet being electrified by 2035 due to this policy
   - 2026 - 53%
   - 2027 - 58%
   - 2028 - 63%
   - 2029 - 69%
   - 2030 - 76%
   - 2031 - 83%
   - 2032 - 91%
   - 2050 - 91%
Industry- (A) Expand Funding for Voluntary Industrial Decarbonization Projects
- (B) Net-GHG-Neutral Oil and Gas Development and Operations
-(C) Reduction Planning for Oil and Gas Midstream Fuel Combustion Equipment
- (D) Comprehensive Regulatory Regime to Support CCUS
- (E) Expanded Methane Regulations for Waste and Coal Mining
- (F) Lead a Regional Strategy on Direct Air Capture (DAC)
- (A) Assumed that the 25 million dollars in CAP grant funding was accompanied by tax crediting financing of 16 million dollars per year through 2028 and 24 million dollars per year through 2032. Also assumed that the state applies 25% of its CPRG funding toward industry. Modeled expected abatement of CAP grants and funding using $/emissions from first two projects. Electrification (Low Temperature) lever for all industries except for oil and gas extraction set to 55%, with implementation schedule 0% in 2023 and 100% by 2032
- (B) Assume that oil and gas operations become more efficient and electrify where possible at an aggressive rate by pulling the following levers for Oil and Gas Extraction:
    - Industry Efficiency set to 14%, increasing from 0% in 2021 to 100% in 2030. Note that this lever was already pulled previously to model a portion of the intensity standard
    - Electrification and Hydrogen (High Temperatures) set to 100%, increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2050
    - Electrification (Low Temperatures) set to 100%, increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2050
- (C) Matched analysis from CDPHE on the 2030 abatement potential of the midstream combustion rule relative to 2015 levels using the Industry Energy Efficiency Standard for Energy Processing and Gas Pipelines. Lever set to 25% increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2030
-(D) Matched abatement from CCS projects that are planned or operational (ex. the LH CO2MENT project). Pulled the Carbon Capture and Sequestration lever (for cement and other minerals) to 90%, increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2027
- (E) Matched expected 10% reduction in emissions from coal mining and landfills by 2030 relative to the Roadmap Baseline by pulling the following levers:
    - Methane Destruction Coal Mining set to 30% increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2030
   - Methane Capture for Water and Waste set to 85% increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2030
- (F) Matched annual abatement of 1,000 metric tons expected from the Global Thermostat's DAC facility in Colorado. Note that the actual impact of DAC will scale with purchase of carbon offsets. Direct Air Capture lever in R&D set to 1%, implementation schedule 0% in 2023 and 100% in 2024
Land use, Agriculture, & Waste- (A) Increasing Soil Health
- (B) Increasing Funding for ACRE3 program (which targets agriculture efficiency)
- (A) Modeled abatement of approximately 470,000 metric tons of CO2e annually through 2026, which reflects CDA’s estimate for abatement levels if 10% of Colorado’s farms were managed for healthy soils using Improved Soil Measures lever set to 20% increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% by 2026
- (B) Extrapolated 2022-2023 level of ACRE funding through 2025 and modeled expected abatement using Industry Efficiency lever (agriculture and forestry) set at 5% increasing from 0% in 2023 to 100% in 2025

Acknowledgement of Contributors and Reviewers

We would like to acknowledge the following people who helped adapt the Energy Policy Simulator for Colorado. Individuals are listed alphabetically.

  • Center for New Energy Economy
  • Energy Foundation
  • Ashna Aggarwal, RMI
  • Olivia Ashmoore, Energy Innovation LLC
  • Kyle Clark-Sutton, RMI
  • Nathan Iyer, RMI
  • Megan Mahajan, Energy Innovation LLC
  • Robbie Orvis, Energy Innovation LLC

Version History

3.4.3.10 – February 23, 2024

  • Pre-loaded the Near Terms Action scenario, which builds on progress represented in the Roadmap Baseline scenario with the addition of “Near Term Actions” listed in the CO Roadmap.

3.4.3.9 – February 6, 2024

  • Additional updates to the Roadmap Baseline scenario to more accurately represent the impact of policies across sectors.

3.4.3.8 – December 14, 2023

  • Data updates to emissions from industrial energy to match inventory data provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.
  • Minor adjustments to the emissions reduction targets based on latest inventory data.

3.4.3.7 – October 19, 2023

  • Decreasing the buildings electrification lever for heating appliances in tthe Roadmap Baseline Scenario to 90% to model the combined impact of clean heat plans and HB23-1161

3.4.3.6 – September 22, 2023

  • Data updates to retire the coal plant, Comanche 3, in 2030 due to an existing retirement plan by the utility, Xcel. Additional minor tweaks were made to the hydrogen vehicle sales standard lever to model the state's hydrogen end-use tax credits

3.4.3.5 – September 7, 2023

  • Data updates to industry process emission reduction potential to increase the value of the methane capture and destruction policy levers in order to capture the impact of Colorado's oil and gas regulations to date

3.4.3.4 – September 1, 2023

  • Calibration to Colorado’s emissions inventory
    • Colorado EPS emissions are now calibrated to the state’s latest inventory. The input data remains calibrated to U.S. State Energy Data System (SEDS) data where possible.
  • Incorporating federal funding
    • Federal funding from tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and major formula-funded provisions from the IRA and Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) are now included in Business-as-Usual. To do this, Energy Innovation’s national model of the IRA was downscaled to Colorado using the “Low” scenario.
  • Roadmap Baseline scenario
    • This is now pre-loaded into the tool. This scenario reflects the state’s current policies, state policies expected to be in place by the end of 2023, and major provisions in the IRA and IIJA where Colorado expects to receive funds.

3.4.3.3 - June 9, 2023

  • Bug fix
    • Prevent rare Vensim error caused by negative ppriority values in ALLOCATE AVAILABLE function

3.4.3.2 - May 19, 2023

  • Bug fix
    • Allow changes in capacity construction subsidies to affect electricity prices

3.4.3.1 - February 6, 2023

  • Update model to version 3.4.3

3.1.1.2 - November 9, 2021

  • Update with additional scenarios showcasing 2021 legislative session and add 2030 target.

3.1.1.1 - May 20, 2021

  • Update coal power plant retirement dates from Xcel Energy's recently announced Clean Energy Plan for Colorado.

3.1.1 - Feb 19, 2021

  • Official launch of the Colorado EPS

Software License

The Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) is released under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) or any later version and is free and open-source software. Refer to the Software License page for full details.

Image Credits

Fall Color at Dallas Divide near Ridgway, Colorado
Thomas Morse
https://unsplash.com/photos/cuKKa0vWZSY
License: Unsplash
Changes: Image has been cropped and a fade has been applied to the left side.