Energy

Metro Denver is leading the way to a balanced energy economy

The nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region ranked fifth for fossil fuels energy employment and fourth among the nation's 50 largest metros for cleantech employment concentration in 2016. Overall, the energy industry cluster employs 52,850 people in the area.

Metro Denver Energy Employment Snapshot U.S. data in ( )
Fossil Fuels Cleantech
Direct Employment 30,460 22,390
Companies 1,620 1,610
Five-Year Employment Growth (2011-2016) 20.7% (-1.5%) 20.4% (17.6%)
One-Year Employment Growth (2016) -3.7% (-8.4%) 6% (5.7%)
Direct Employment Concentration (2016) 1.4% (1%) 1% (0.5%)
Average Wage $111,880 $79,690
Employment Concentration Ranking (Among 50 largest metros) 6 4

The region is a top energy location, offering:

  1. The ability to recruit and retain senior management and scientific talent.
    • Colorado ranked among the top five states for wind-related employment, accounting for nearly 7 percent of the nation’s total wind-related jobs in 2015. (American Wind Energy Association, 2016)

    • Colorado ranked fifth in the nation for the number of new clean energy jobs created in 2015, with 2,650 new clean energy jobs announced during the year. (Environmental Entrepreneurs, 2016)

    • Metro Denver ranked as the fourth-best metro area for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals in 2016. Metro Denver ranked seventh for the projected number of STEM jobs needed by 2020. (WalletHub, 2016)

  2. Proximity to energy-related higher education programs and research centers.
    • Colorado ranked ninth for the number of science and engineering graduate students per 1,000 individuals ages 25 to 34 years old in 2013. (National Science Foundation, 2015)
    • The Education Corporation of America’s Ecotech Institute in Aurora is the world’s first and only college entirely focused on preparing graduates for careers in cleantech through eight associate degree programs. In 2016, Ecotech Training launched to provide cleantech courses and certifications to individuals across the nation. (Ecotech Institute, 2016)
    • The Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) is the largest test facility for solar technologies in the U.S., occupying 74-acres at the 1,760-acre Aurora Campus for Renewable Energy. (The Solar Technology Acceleration Center, 2016)
  3. Access to the research of a broad collection of federal laboratories and private R&D activities

    Key federal offices located in the nine-county region include:

    • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
    • National Center for Atmospheric Research
    • The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
    • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management
    • The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement
    • The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
    • The U.S. Forest Service
    • The U.S. Department of Energy
    • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • The U.S. Geological Survey
    • The Western Area Power Administration
  4. Business organizations and public policy programs designed to encourage industry growth

    Legislation passed in 2016 expands existing tax credits for alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) purchases. House Bill 1332 (2016) provides between $5,000 and $20,000 for the purchase or conversion of a light-medium or heavy-duty AFV.

    The Colorado Clean Energy Cluster (CCEC) is an economic development organization dedicated to growing clean energy jobs and aims to expand the clean energy sector through innovative and entrepreneurial projects and initiatives. CCEC’s initiatives include FortZED, the International Cleantech Network, C3E, and Net Zero Water. (The Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, 2016)

Metro Denver also offers world-class universities, such as the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the only university in the nation to offer baccalaureate through doctorate degrees in all key energy fields. In addition, Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federally funded science and research centers in the nation with 30 federal laboratories and research institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).