Colorado links economic boom to renewables

Colorado's Bill Ritter, has joined the growing number of state Governors to acknowledge that renewable energy promises and economic boost alongside the environmental benefits.

Speaking on Thursday, the Governor told the media that he envisaged an increase of US$1.9 billion in the state’s GDP if it doubled its use of renewables by 2020.

This would see renewables meeting 20% of the state’s total energy demands.

“More clean, homegrown energy means more jobs and higher wages paid for Coloradans,” continued Ritter. “Increasing our use of renewable energy would bring over 4,000 high-paying, high-skilled jobs and over US$570 million in wages paid to our state.”

A report published by Environment Colorado backed Mr Ritter’s upbeat predictions, comparing three possible scenarios for electricity production in the state; business as usual, a 10% renewables target and the 20% target put forward by the Governor.

Doubling renewable targets would, according to the report, mean job creation in the sector was 4.3 times higher, wages would be 2.2 times higher and an increase in gross domestic product was 1.9 times higher.

“We have only just begun to tap the potential of a new energy economy,” said Governor Ritter.

“Continued investment in clean energy helps our state ensure economic prosperity.”

The report shows that a 20% renewable energy goal would also result in significant reductions of soot, smog, and mercury pollution. Also, since wind and most solar resources use a negligible amount of water compared to fossil fuel sources, Colorado could save over 18 billion gallons of water by 2020.

The vast majority of Colorado’s best wind and solar resources are found primarily in rural parts of the state. Increasing development of renewable resources provides the best opportunity for economic development and job creation in what are often struggling rural communities.

Sam Bond

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