New report: Colorado among national leaders in wind energy growth, solar power growth, energy efficiency progress and electric vehicle adoption

Media Contacts
Rex Wilmouth

Former Senior Program Director, Environment Colorado

Decade-long analysis details dramatic clean energy growth in Colorado and nation

Environment Colorado

DENVER — Colorado ranks eighth in the nation for growth in wind energy production since 2011, 13th in the nation for growth in solar power generation since 2011, according to a new report released today by Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center. Renewables on the Rise 2021: The rapid growth of renewables, electric vehicles and other building blocks of a clean energy future documents the growth of six key clean energy technologies across the U.S. over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps. Colorado has seen a 728% increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun since 2011, a 145%  increase in wind power production since 2011, and as of 2020 generates enough wind and solar power to meet 26.5% of its electricity demand. As of 2020, Colorado had a total of 36,821 electric vehicles on the road and was home to 3,356 public electric vehicle charging ports . 

“It’s amazing the difference that a decade can make,” said Rex Wilmouth, Senior Program Director with Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center. “Coloradans can look forward to a cleaner, healthier future, as renewable sources like wind and solar are poised to play a starring role in Colorado’s energy future,” said Wilmouth. “And as these clean energy sources produce more and more of our power, they set the stage for other new technologies — like electric cars and heat pumps — to replace dirty and outdated ones, all while relying on clean power. That’s how we create a better, cleaner future.”

Beyond high rankings in wind and solar energy progress, Colorado is 10th in the nation for wind and solar generation as a percentage of electricity consumption, 8th in improvements in electricity efficiency since 2011, 10th in cumulative electric vehicle sales through 2020 and 8th in public electric vehicle charging ports.  Strong and supportive policies, combined with improving technologies and falling prices, have played a key role in driving adoption, according to the report. For example, Colorado has increased charging ports in state parks so Coloradans can recharge their electric vehicles where we recharge our souls.

In addition to highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the research also details the rapid gains achieved nationally over the past decade. According to the report, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind in 2020 as in 2011. Additionally, if wind, solar and geothermal generation continue growing at the same 15% annual rate, renewables could meet the nation’s current electricity needs by 2035. 

“Millions of Americans and Coloradans are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” Wilmouth said. “But, we’ll need to do even more in order to transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for Colorado into a reality. Governor Polis should keep the momentum going by accelerating Colorado’s transition to 100% clean electricity and Congress should extend and expand key tax incentive programs for clean energy so Colorado can continue investing in renewable energy.