The American Solar Energy Society released a report Thursday that said "green" industries generated $10.3 billion in sales and accounted for more than 4 percent of the gross state product in 2007.
A report prepared for the Colorado Energy Research Institute in 2007 estimated that oil and gas activity in the state employed about 71,000 people, and that industry's economic contribution in 2005 was $22.9 billion, not including expenditures for developments like pipelines.
The ASES report was commissioned by Xcel Energy, Red Rocks Community College and several Colorado and Denver agencies including the Governor's Energy Office.
The report said public- and private-sector initiatives and the presence of facilities like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory position Colorado well to take advantage of growing interest in green technologies. For instance, state law requires large utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The report noted companies that have announced plans in the last two years to add jobs in Colorado:
- Wind-turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems is developing plants in Windsor and Brighton with plans to employ a total of more than 2,000 people.
-- AVA Solar Inc., a spinoff from Colorado State University, plans to build a solar panel manufacturing plant that would employ 500 people.
- Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. said it was moving its U.S. headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Broomfield, which offered economic incentives to lure the wind energy farm developer. The headquarters is expected to employ 140 people.
- Siemens Energy said it would establish a wind turbine research and development center that would employ 50 people in Boulder.
"In a surprisingly short time Colorado has effectively positioned itself as a national leader in the green economy," said Brad Collins, ASES executive director.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)