Colorado National Rankings - 2021

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  • Overview:
    • Since 2010, Colorado's renewable electricity net generation has more than tripled, led by increased wind and solar, and accounted for 30% of the state's total generation in 2020 (source: EIA State Profile, March 18, 2021).
    • Colorado ranks among the top 20 states for the percentage of its electricity generated from renewable sources and ranks among the top 10 states for wind and solar employment (source: Metro Denver EDC’s annual Industry Cluster Study, 2020).

  • Wind Energy:
    • Colorado ranks 7th among the states in installed wind power capacity in 2020 (source: EIA State Profile, March 18, 2021).
    • Cumulative wind power generating capacity has more than doubled since 2010 to reach more than 4,000 MW.
      • Colorado installed 59 new MW of wind in 2019, 299 MW in the first half of 2020 and an additional 775 MW are currently under construction (as of mid-2020).
      • Colorado wind farms include more than 2,250 wind turbines.
      • Through September 2020, Colorado produced 19.4% of its electricity from wind (source: Colorado Economic Outlook 2021, CU Business Research Division, 2020).

  • Solar Energy:
    • Colorado ranks 11th in the nation for installed solar capacity, with 1,708 MW of solar energy installed as of Q4 of 2020. (source: The Solar Foundation, State Solar Jobs Census, 2020).
    • Coloradans get 3.7% of their electricity from solar (source: Colorado Energy Office, 2021).
    • Annual installed capacity – Colorado ranks 7th for the fastest growth rate in the nation (Source: SEIA 2020).
    • Colorado has 50,920 individual photovoltaic (PV) installations that generated nearly 67 MW of power in 2018 (Source:  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report, “Tracking the Sun”).

  • Hydro Power:
    • Colorado is 2nd only to California in small hydro installations (Source: Colo. Small Hydropower Association. Assessment of Energy Potential at Public Drinking Water Systems.  June 2018, page 2, Telluride/Kurt Johnson).
    • For the past decade, Colorado’s hydroelectric plants have been providing between 2.3% and 4% of the state’s total electricity. In 2019, nearly 3% of the state’s total electrical output came from more than 60 hydroelectric generating stations (source: Colo. Small Hydropower Association. Assessment of Energy Potential at Public Drinking Water Systems, June 2018, page 2, Telluride/Kurt Johnson).

  • Alternative Natural Gas Electricity Generation:
    • Colorado accounted for almost two-fifths of total U.S. coalbed methane production in 2019 (source: EIA State Profile, March 18, 2021).

  • Battery Storage:
    • Colorado is among the first states to give consumers the right to store energy the energy they generate from their solar panels (source: The Denver Post March 22, 2018).

  • Energy Efficiency:
    • Colorado ranked 7th among 48 states included in the data set (Hawaii and Alaska were excluded due to data limitations). This ranking was based on a number of categories. Colorado ranked the strongest when it came to "Home Energy Efficiency", coming in 4rd in this category.  Colorado also ranked 16th in "Auto Energy Efficiency." (source: recent 2020 WalletHub report).

  • Buildings Efficiency:
    • 3rd in cumulative square footage of LEED-certified space per capita (source: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, 2020).

  • Grid Modernization:
    • Colorado is ranked 9th as one of the "most active" in terms of Grid Modernization efforts according to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, The 50 States of Grid Modernization: 2020 Review and Q4 2020 Quarterly Report, February 2021.

  • Electric Vehicles:
    • Colorado is ranked 8th in "The State Transportation Electrification Scorecard" by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE report, 2021).
    • Colorado has 1,277 electric charging stations (source: EIA State Profile, March 18, 2021).

  • Cleantech Funding:
    • 8th in cleantech venture capital investments at $20.5 million (source: Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, CCIA, 2019).

  • Economic Development:
    • Colorado’s is now among the top 10 states for jobs in three sectors: wind energy (3rd), bioenergy (9th), and overall renewable energy (6th). The state fell just outside the Top 10 in solar energy (11th). However, the majority of Colorado’s clean energy job growth came from energy efficiency and clean vehicles, which grew 7.2% and 22.5%respectively (source: E2’s Clean Jobs Colorado 2019 report).
    • Colorado ranked fourth for high-tech employment and its universities, federal research labs and innovation elevate the state’s position as a leader in energy technology and advancements (source: (source: Metro Denver EDC’s annual Industry Cluster Study, 2020).
    • Colorado is home to 348 solar companies employing about 7,174 people throughout the state (source: The Solar Foundation, State Solar Jobs Census, 2020).

  • Carbon Dioxide Emissions:
    • Colorado ranks 23rd in carbon dioxide emissions -- accounting for only 2.0% of total U.S. emissions (source: EIA’s Colorado State Profile and Energy Estimates, 2019).

  • Higher Education:
    • The Colorado School of Mines ranks in the top 3 of U.S. `elite' energy schools (out of the top 187 U.S. energy universities).
      • Research at the Colorado School of Mines includes traditional science and engineering areas associated with mining, plus programs in oil and gas, solar, nuclear, new energy sources, and energy policy. The school has a joint graduate program, Mines-NREL NEXUS, with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, located in Golden, Colorado (source: American Energy Society (AES) "Top Energy Universities 2020" report, Sept. 28, 2020).

  • Renewable Energy Standard:
    • Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to enact a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by ballot initiative (i.e., via an initiated state statute) when voters approved the Colorado Renewable Energy Requirement Initiative, also known as Amendment 37, in November 2004 (source: DSIRE database, NC Clean Energy Technology Center, accessed March 29, 2021).