August 25, 2008

The Colorado Edge New Energy Economy Creating a Wealth of Opportunities

By Gov Bill Ritter Jr

Whether this is your first or 50th visit to colorful Colorado, I'd like to welcome all of the delegates, guests, friends and family here for the Democratic National Convention to our wonderful state.

The last time we hosted the convention was 100 years ago, and Denver's skyline has changed at least a little bit since then. But one thing remains constant: This remains the best state in America to live, work and play. While the convention and related activities will undoubtedly keep you busy, I hope you find time to enjoy the rest of Colorado.

What you'll find is a Colorado at the crossroads of Old West and New West. We cherish our wide-open mountain vistas, our farms and ranches, and our rugged individualism meshed with a love of community. We celebrate our history and take pride in our Western roots.

We like to tell visitors that Colorado is one of the sunniest states in the country, with more than 300 days of brilliant sunshine a year. But it's more than just a tourism selling point - it's at the heart of Colorado's New Energy Economy.

We are attracting new companies, adding new jobs and creating new economic opportunities in every corner of Colorado as we become a global leader in renewable energy. New companies from places like Denmark and Spain are opening major facilities in Colorado. Startup businesses are spinning off from our research hubs, and existing companies are expanding.

We are marrying our traditional energy resources - including our vast supplies of natural gas - with alternative sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Last year alone, we quadrupled the amount of wind power on our electric grid, providing enough new and clean electricity for 250,000 homes.

Colorado is guiding America toward a more secure and a more diverse energy future thanks to research giants like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. The New Energy Economy, along with our overall business-friendly climate, is a key reason that Colorado is considered one of the best states in America to do business.

The New Energy Economy also is just one example of how Colorado and the New West are leading America and creating opportunities out of today's challenges. We are making similar advances in aerospace, bioscience and other knowledge-based industries of the future.

Colorado's tech sector was recently ranked No. 3 in the country thanks to our high concentration of tech workers, scientists and college-educated residents. We're home to the second-highest percentage of residents with college degrees in the United States.

We also boast the second-highest number of aerospace workers in the country, thanks in part to companies like Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and many of the defense contractors that do work with our myriad military installations. Colorado is a foundation for our national security and home to six major military installations. More than 50,000 military personnel and their families live and work in Colorado.

Our bioscience and medical research community also is thrivingin places like Aurora, Boulder and Fort Collins, with new discoveries, new hope and new possibilities emerging almost daily.

There is much to discover about Colorado - from Pikes Peak and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, to the awe- inspiring American Indian cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, to the high alpine meadows of Rocky Mountain National Park.

We are an energetic, optimistic and forward-thinking state that embraces our Western heritage as we overcome obstacles and constantly look for new hope and new possibilities.

Colorado - like all of America - is most assuredly a land of opportunity. I encourage you to experience as much of it as possible.

Originally published by Gov. Bill Ritter Jr..

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