Denver, Colo.–The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Interwest Energy Alliance, along with key wind industry company executives, held a press conference, as part of AWEA’s Colorado State Wind Energy Forum, held at the University of Denver. Executives from Interwest Energy Alliance, Vestas and RES Americas, highlighted the economic benefits to Colorado’s economy, the potential future growth associated with wind industry investments and the benefits it offers as a climate change solution.
Colorado and the nation already benefit from wind energy’s growth, reducing carbon pollution and other pollutants in the energy sector, which is why federal and state policies that incentivize private investment in clean energy are critical for Colorado’s economic future.
“Wind energy companies are poised to be part of the climate solution by offering clean energy that is good for the state's economy,” said Sarah Cottrell Propst, Executive Director of Interwest Energy Alliance. “The state has already benefitted from billions of dollars of investment in wind farms and factories, supporting thousands of jobs and local economies, and that can only increase with the right policies in place.”
The state is also in a great position to benefit from expansion of wind energy here and the rest of the world given global wind industry manufacturers, like Vestas, are already well established in the Centennial State.
“All told, Vestas’ entire commitment to Colorado represents a nearly $1 billion capital investment and 1,200 jobs,” said Susan Innis, Senior Manager for Public Affairs, Vestas. “We have made this investment because the state has a highly skilled workforce, a favorable business climate, and strong commitment from state and local leaders to growing Colorado's energy economy.”
Tuesday’s news conference comes just two weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of a new carbon pollution standard for new power plants, which was the first step in the implementation of President Obama’s national climate action plan and includes new investments in clean energy. As one of the cheapest, quickest, and largest-scale ways to reduce pollution, wind energy is readily available for Colorado to help implement a national climate plan, which will also include first ever limits carbon pollution from power plants.
Background: Colorado has been a leader in wind energy with over 11 percent of the electricity supplied by wind. There are over 4,000 Coloradoans employed in wind energy in 17 factories and the industry has invested over $4 billion of capital investment into the state. Additionally on a yearly basis the industry pays $7.5 million to landowners who lease their property for turbines. Colorado has a strong wind energy supporter in local utility Xcel Energy which has been a leader in acquiring Power Purchase Agreements for wind energy. Wind energy already installed in Colorado saves 1,490,000,000 gallons of water per year and saves carbon emissions equivalent to taking 715,000 cars off the road.
The Interwest Energy Alliance is a trade association that represents the nation’s leading companies in the renewable energy industry, bringing them together with the West’s leading non-governmental organizations to facilitate consensus-based approaches to new project development throughout the region.