Colorado’s Eastern Plains a Renewable Energy Economic Hub, According to New Report
Fort Morgan – Colorado’s Eastern Plains Counties have seen 4,000 local jobs created and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment from the renewable energy industry, according to a report released today by Progressive 15. In addition, renewable energy companies and manufacturers have made significant local and beneficial impacts, felt by Coloradans across the region through employment, property tax, and support for local farms and landowners. With the newly approved Rush Creek project, investment will now be in the billions.
“Renewable energy and the larger cleantech industry have had a tremendous impact on our communities and this report clearly illustrates just how significant and local the impacts are,” said Cathy Shull, Executive Director of Progressive 15. “These jobs are real, felt by actual residents and this industry is helping to keep investments, jobs and families in our cities and towns. We are proud of what the renewable industry has contributed to our communities and encourage continued policies and incentives to keep investing in along the eastern plains.”
The renewable energy, or cleantech, industry has become an important part of the Colorado economy over the past 15 years, particularly among counties in Colorado’s Eastern Plains. The report looked at the local impact in the counties of eastern Colorado consists of eastern Arapahoe County, and all of Bent, Elbert, El Paso, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Prowers, Pueblo, and Weld. Colorado’s eastern plains have significant resource potential, notably wind energy, and have attracted the vast majority of renewable energy investment activity in the state. As policymakers and energy companies have pursued renewable energy projects and clean technologies, the renewable energy industry has become increasingly important to the local economy in eastern Colorado.
As of 2015, Colorado’s eastern plains were home to nearly 97 percent of the state’s installed wind energy capacity, and the region has large wind turbine manufacturing facilities among many other industries dependent on the renewable energy industry. Wind farms provide a steady property tax base for local governments, schools, and tax districts in eastern Colorado that support public services for workers and residents.
The report also included the following highlights:
- Eastern Colorado counties had 4,250 workers in more than 220 cleantech business establishments in 2015.
- There are about 680 professional and technical services jobs in the cleantech industry in eastern Colorado, including environmental and scientific consulting services and research and testing laboratories.
- Wind operations and maintenance requires an estimated 160 workers in eastern Colorado, creating a long-term, well-paid employment base.
- Eastern Colorado will have an estimated 3,062 megawatts (MW) of installed renewable energy capacity in 16 facilities by the end of 2016.
- Since 2007, installed wind capacity in Colorado has grown nearly two and one-half times from 1,067 MW to 2,593 MW in 2015.
The full report can be viewed http://www.progressive15.org, and videos from local employees and a farmer receiving lease payments from a wind facility can be seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmj2DkGjCXI
Learn more about the Rush Creek Wind Farm – CLICK HERE
Learn more about Progressive 15 – CLICK HERE
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