Over the past 10 years, wind power has increased from 1.6% to 14.3% of electricity generated in Colorado. This is due in large part to the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard, which is one of the most ambitious in the nation. This standard requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of its electricity from a renewable source.
Wind power is by far the most popular renewable energy source in Colorado, followed by hydroelectric. Solar energy, on the other hand, is just starting to get off the ground. In 2015, $305 million was invested on solar installations in Colorado. This represents a 44% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year. As Colorado renewable energy continues to grow, coal energy is on the decline, down 3% from last year.
Colorado Electricity Prices
Colorado has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Colorado residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Colorado residents in December 2016 was 11.78¢ per kWh, which is .43¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Colorado, though, having increased more than 33% over the past 10 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Colorado residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Colorado Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2010-2015, Colorado increased its wind power production from 6.81% to 14.27% of total electricity production. Over the same period, electricity production from coal has fallen over 8%.
Colorado Energy Sector Employment
According to a 2017 report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), more than 14,000 Coloradans are employed by renewable energy companies. Most of these jobs are related to wind and solar energy, which are both growing quickly in Colorado. Some of the biggest renewable energy employers in Colorado are Vestas Wind Systems, Sunrun, and NextEra Energy. Some other large employers in Colorado's energy industry are Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, and Colorado Springs Utilities.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Colorado Utility Companies
The largest utility companies in Colorado are Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, and Colorado Springs Utilities. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
• Serves 1,150,181 Colorado residents
• Purchases about 35% of their electricity from independent power producers
• Produces about 43% of their electricity from coal
Colorado Springs Utilities
• Serves 183,984 Colorado residents
• Purchases about 94% of their electricity from independent power producers
• Produces about 52% of their electricity from coal
Black Hills Energy
• Serves 81,549 Colorado residents
• Purchases about 75% of their electricity from independent power producers
• Produces about 44% of their electricity from coal
Arcadia's Colorado Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Colorado residents:
As a Colorado utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Colorado. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Colorado utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.