Colorado Governor's Residence, photo by Eric Allix Rogers, used under a Creative Commons license.
On August 7, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and our state and regional partners, Interwest Energy Alliance and Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, held conversations with Colorado’s gubernatorial campaigns, meeting with Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D) and policy advisor for State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican nominee, along with candidate for attorney general Phil Weiser. One message consistently reverberated throughout our meetings: Colorado is well positioned to take advantage of a significant advanced energy opportunity.
Companies participating in the candidate roundtables – including First Solar, Invenergy, CLEAResult, Sunnova, Apex Clean Energy, Tesla, and Vestas – outlined policy opportunities that make Colorado even more of a leader in advanced energy than it already is, at the same time making the state more competitive in attracting the 71 Fortune 100 companies interested in increasing their use of cleaner energy resources to power their operations.
Cost declines for renewable energy over the past decade (more than 60% for solar and 80% for wind technology), cost-savings for consumers from energy efficiency investments, improvements in grid reliability through storage, and economic development that supports local schools in rural areas were key benefits that resonated with the campaigns.
Participants in the roundtable discussion represented a wide range of advanced energy businesses from across the state, including solar, wind, electric vehicles, grid software, manufacturing, distributed resources, energy storage, and energy efficiency. The group discussed the growing impact of their businesses in Colorado, where more than 62,800 people work in advanced energy, with 8% job growth expected this year alone, as documented in our employment fact sheet.
To each campaign, we offered to serve as a resource for policy ideas to help the next administration in Colorado take advantage of the advanced energy opportunity for economic development and jobs.