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Published on June 13th, 2011 | by Guest Contributor

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Colorado Climbing to the Forefront of Clean Energy

June 13th, 2011 by  


As the United States struggles to add jobs on a consistent and robust basis, we are always on the look-out for success stories on the job front. Well, one glimmer of hope comes from the state of Colorado, which has seen tremendous job growth in the clean energy space, well ahead of the national average.

According to a 2011 study by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC), between 2005 and 2010, the Colorado cleantech industry grew by 32.7% which was over three times the national average. In addition, clean technology was the only sector within the state to grow in 2010, with 1,600 companies employing over 19,000 workers.

“Colorado ranks fourth nationally in the total number of clean-energy jobs and we’re still growing and adding jobs,” said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver EDC. “With the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in our backyard, the nation’s second-highest renewable energy standard and copious amounts of wind and sunshine, our region truly has become a hub for clean-technology.”

Certainly having NREL in state provides not only the institutional knowledge but also the credibility for Colorado’s renewable energy program to flourish. In fact, Ecotech Institute, the nation’s first and only college entirely dedicated to renewable energy and sustainable design, chose Colorado last year for its flagship campus. “Ecotech Institute chose to launch its first location in Colorado for many reasons, including its location, entrepreneurial culture, and passion for green job growth,” said Michael Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute. “Colorado’s culture, natural beauty and green-leaning attitude fosters greener lifestyles, education and careers.”

So what kind of clean energy companies are located in Colorado? Vestas, the world’s leading manufacturer of wind turbines, has announced that it will invest more than $1 billion at four manufacturing plants in Colorado. Total employment in the state is expected to reach 2,500 workers by full operation. In addition, Aluwind, a supplier to Vestas and REpower USA Corp, a leading turbine producer in Germany, also moved operations to Colorado.

Solar panels in Colorado Rockies outfield.

In addition, Colorado’s solar industry has also seen substantial growth. Last year, over 54.6 megawatts of solar power were installed in Colorado, which involved over 1,600 companies employing more than 19,000 workers, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. This was more than double the amount Colorado installed in 2009, placing Colorado solar fifth in the nation for installed solar power behind California, New Jersey, Nevada, and Arizona.

This guest post comes to us from Reginald Norris, Executive Vice President & General Counsel for Clean Energy Experts. Clean Energy Experts’s mission is to increase the adoption of economically and environmentally beneficial energy solutions by educating consumers through a portfolio of websites, MyEnergySolution.com and Solar-Energy-Installers.com, on the facts about clean energy and energy efficiency, enabling them to make the right decisions for their home.

Related Stories on CleanTechnica:

  1. U.S. Sen. Mark Udall Unveils Community Solar Gardens Bill
  2. Arizona and Colorado Solar Power Leading the West
  3. Colorado Catching Up to California on Clean Energy
  4. Xcel Energy Cuts Colorado Coal Use by 30%

Photos via Dave Dugdale; Frank Sturgell Photography; amysept; Dave Dugdale/rentVine 
 
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