Fueling the Future: Energy in Denver South

  • 2,290 energy industry employees
  • 370 energy companies
  • Employment growth in the Denver South region’s energy cluster averaged 7.5 percent per year over the past five years, compared with a 6.6 percent and a 3.3 percent increase in the nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region and nationwide, respectively.

Feel the energy.

Reasons to locate your business in Denver South:

  • Coal – Colorado produced more than 24 million short tons of coal, or 2.5 percent of the nationwide supply in 2014. Colorado was the 10th-most productive coal mining state and borders Wyoming, the nation’s largest producer of coal. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2016)
  • Natural Gas – Colorado ranked sixth among natural-gas producing states, accounting for 6.3 percent of U.S. natural gas production. The state also had the nation’s largest reserve of coalbed methane and accounts for about one-fourth of Colorado’s natural gas production. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2015)
    • The Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) is a 1,679-mile interstate natural gas pipeline system that extends from the Piceance Basin in Colorado to Clarington, Ohio with a capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day. REX is undergoing an expansion that will increase east-to-west delivery of natural gas from Ohio to markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast, and Southeast. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2015; Tallgrass Energy, 2015)
  • Oil – Colorado ranked as the nation’s seventh-largest oil producer in 2014, producing a record 94.4 million barrels of crude oil. Colorado ranked seventh in the number of active rotary rigs as of October 2015, and Colorado had the seventh-highest proven oil reserves in the nation totaling 1,170 million barrels in 2013. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2015; Baker Hughes, 2015)
  • Colorado is home to two of the 100 largest oil fields and nine of the nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2015)

  • Wind – Colorado ranked seventh in the nation for wind power generation capacity installed and ranked 10th for total installed wind power capacity as of September 2015. Nearly 14 percent of all in-state electricity production was generated with wind. (U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2015; American Wind Energy Association, 2015)
  • Biomass – Colorado has extensive biomass potential. Roughly 25 percent of the state’s 24 million acres of forestland have a high or moderate potential for future biomass production, with a typical yield in the Front Range of four to 10 dry tons of woody biomass per acre per year. (Colorado State Forest Service, 2015)
  • Solar – Colorado ranked ninth in the nation for total installed solar capacity in 2014 with 430 MW. (Solar Energy Industries Association, 2015)
    • Metro Denver ranked fifth among the top-10 largest U.S. metro areas for solar power system installations. Denver has 6.22 solar power systems per capita, compared with the U.S. average of 2.26. (BuildZoom, 2015)
    • Denver ranked eighth among the top-20 largest U.S. cities for installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity and ranked No. 7 for solar PV capacity generated per capita in 2014. (Environment America Research & Policy Center, 2015)
  • Water – With a combined installed capacity of 1,162 megawatts (MW), Colorado’s more than 60 hydropower facilities generate roughly 1 million MW-hours of electricity annually. (Colorado Energy Office, 2015)
  • Metro Denver ranked 11th in clean technology leadership in 2015 and ranked among the top-10 for green building usage and cleantech investment, innovation, and workforce. (Clean Edge, Inc., 2015)
  • Denver ranked sixth among the top-10 U.S. cities for green commercial space. Nearly half of all leasable office space in Denver was classified as either ENERGY STAR® or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified. (CBRE Group, 2015; Maastricht University, 2015)
  • Metro Denver ranked among the top-10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the greatest number of ENERGY STAR® certified buildings in 2014. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2015)
  • Denver ranked 10th among 51 U.S. cities for energy-efficient policies and programs in the 2015 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 2015).
  • Located near the Denver South region, the Education Corporation of America’s Ecotech Institute is the world’s only college entirely focused on training students for careers in cleantech. (Ecotech Institute, 2015)
  • The University of Colorado and The Wildlife Experience collaborated to offer new classes and certificates in engineering, business, education, and healthcare in the Denver South region. Engineering certificates such as integrated construction, management, and leadership, and software engineering are offered. (The University of Colorado, 2015)
  • The Denver South region is in close proximity to the Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) in Aurora, which is the largest test facility for solar technologies in the U.S. (The Solar Technology Acceleration Center, 2015)
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) only laboratory committed to the research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, is located in close proximity to the Denver South region in Golden. In fiscal year 2014, NREL’s research resulted in 440 U.S. patents in the clean energy industry.
  • Key federal offices located in the nine-county region include the 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; and the Western Area Power Administration.
  • Firms in the Denver South region with fossil fuel energy R&D programs include Shell Exploration & Production and XTO Energy.
  • Legislation passed in 2015 refunds sales and use tax for equipment used in R&D of medical devices or clean technology. House Bill 1180 (2015) refunds up to $50,000 per year in sales and use taxes for companies with less than 35 employees and more than 50 percent employed in Colorado.
  • The Colorado Energy Coalition (CEC) is a consortium of leaders and stakeholders dedicated to strengthening the business climate in Colorado supporting all sectors of the energy industry. The CEC’s mission is to brand Colorado as the Balanced Energy Capital of the West. (Metro Denver EDC, 2015)
  • The Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Programs include four types of grants and a global business support program to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries, including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and technology and information. These industries account for nearly 30 percent of the state’s wage earnings and nearly 35 percent of the state’s total exports. (The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, 2015)
  • Colorado ranked fifth on Forbes’ 2016 “Best States for Business” list. The state received its highest rankings for labor supply (first overall), economic climate (second overall), growth prospects (third overall), and regulatory environment (ninth overall).
    Metro Denver ranked No. 2 among Forbes’ 2017 “Best Places for Business and Careers” ranking in the top two for the third-straight year.
  • Denver South’s office rental rates averaged $24.51 per square foot in the first quarter of 2017, making the region’s office market highly competitive with other major markets in the U.S.
  • Colorado has one of the nation’s most favorable corporate income tax structures. The state’s corporate income tax rate of 4.63 percent is one of the lowest in the nation and is based on single-factor apportionment, which allows companies to pay taxes based solely on their sales in the state.
  • The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield metropolitan area ranked among the top 10 for economic development and job growth in the “Leading Locations for 2016” list. Areas recognized in the study exhibited economic strength and capacity to support business prosperity.
  • Colorado has the nation’s ninth-best tax climate for entrepreneurship and small business. (Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, 2016)
  • Colorado ranked among the top five “Best States for Small Business Friendliness” in 2016. Denver received an “A-” grade for overall friendliness.(, 2016; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2016)
  • Highlands Ranch (sixth) and Centennial (13th) ranked among MONEY Magazine’s 2016 “Best Places to Live” list.
    Centennial ranked among the “Best Cities for Young Families” in 2017. The city ranked No. 49 out of 510 U.S. communities.
  • The Denver South region boasts a variety of quality living options from expansive apartment complexes to single-family homes surrounded by open spaces. The area is also known for beautiful neighborhoods, award-winning schools and popular parks and trail systems.
  • The South Metro Corridor is home to seven state parks, greenways, and a national forest and has preserved over 50,000 acres of natural open space. The High Line Canal, designated as a National Landmark Trail, contributes to the region’s robust trail system.
  • Denver ranked fifth among the “2016’s Best Large Cities to Live In.” Denver scored first for livability and third for local economy and taxes.
  • Metro Denver ranked as the third-fittest metropolitan area in the U.S. in 2016.
    Nearly 30 public and private golf courses are located in the South Metro Corridor and world-class ski resorts are located within 100 miles of the Corridor.

Meet Your Neighbors

Cool Planet 
Cool Planet was founded in 2009 to commercialize a groundbreaking technology that produced both renewable fuel and Engineered Biocarbon from biomass. The company is currently focused on deploying its proprietary Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon products. Cool Terra delivers both sustainability and profitability for agriculture, landscape, turf, nursery and ornamental markets. Cool Terra sequesters carbon from the atmosphere by taking CO2 captured by plants and storing it in the soil for hundreds of years. Cool Terra can enhance soil health by providing a long-lasting environment to nurture microbial life in the soil. Learn more

Gevo is a renewable technology, chemical products, and next generation biofuels company. Gevo has developed proprietary technology that uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production of isobutanol, as well as related products from renewable feedstocks. Learn more

Westmoreland Coal Co. 

Westmoreland Coal Company is the oldest independent coal company in the United States. Westmoreland’s coal operations include surface coal mines in the United States and Canada, underground coal mines in Ohio and New Mexico, a char production facility, and a 50% interest in an activated carbon plant. Westmoreland also owns the general partner of and a majority interest in Westmoreland Resource Partners, LP, a publicly-traded coal master limited partnership (NYSE:WMLP). Its power operations include ownership of the two-unit ROVA coal-fired power plant in North Carolina. Learn more