Addressing attendees of the second annual Colorado New Energy Economy Conference, Ritter said that Jefferson County alone has about 500 renewable energy companies. The Governor cited the wind turbine maker Vestas' new turbine tower manufacturing plant, which, along with the company's blade manufacturing plants in Windsor and Brighton, will provide about 2,500 good paying green collar jobs to the people of Colorado.
So how is Colorado doing it? Well, it's not just because of the excellent solar and wind resource; and it certainly isn't because we let the market sort it all out. The renewable energy industry has taken root here because the state has made it a priority and the people have embraced it.
Companies have sprouted up partially because the state's excellent research universities have focused attention on energy programs, but it also helps that the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory spins off many companies that end up settling near NREL's Golden campus. Not to be overlooked is the state's role in attracting already established companies to the area by giving grants and zero interest loans for renewable energy pilot projects and for giving tax breaks for job training and job creation.
Ritter has ridden the wave of the clean energy movement in Colorado since the outset of his campaign. The Democratic governor promoted a "new energy economy" when running for governor in 2006 and has repeatedly said he wants to diversify the state's economy, which has been bolstered by a natural gas boom. I'm not necessarily saying that Ritter is the reason Colorado is becoming a clean energy hub, but that he has hitched his wagon to a good train to be on right now.