Colorado Wind Facts

The state of Colorado set the bar for renewable energy standards in 2004 as the first state to establish this type of legislation. With 1066 MW of installed wind energy capacity, the state ranks sixth in the nation for installed capacity. The state has excellent wind resources consistent with utility scale wind productions. In fact, Colorado alone has enough wind energy to supply the lower 48 states with 9% of their total electricity consumption. This adds up to 481 billion kilowatt hours of electricity yearly.

With the average household using 600 kilowatt hours per month, Colorado’s wind power could generate electricity to 67 million homes a year. Recent legislation for wind energy has improved, with the goal of furthering the development of wind projects. The new legislation increased the RPS and created new financial incentives for wind energy development. These incentives include property tax assessments placing wind energy on a separate assessment scale from other renewables as well as property and sales tax rebates.

Colorado wind facts as of January 2008:

• Total installed wind energy capacity (MW): 1066
• Current wind energy capacity under construction (MW): 0
• Total wind energy potential (Billions of kWh/year): 481
• Average potential power output (MW): 54,900
• Ranks 11th in US for potential wind power output
• Ranks 6th in US for current wind power output

Renewable Portfolio Standard:

In 2004, Colorado became the first US state to initiate a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which was amended in March of 2007. Originally, the RPS required utilities serving more than 40,000 customers to purchase 10% of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources. A rebate program for investor-owned facilities also went into effect.

The amended version amplified the RPS and broadened the legislation to include electric cooperatives. Each investor-owned utility’s retail electricity sales must include a specific percentage of renewable energy and/or recycled energy in accordance to the following timetable:

3% for 2007
• 5% for 2008-2010
• 10% for 2011-2014
• 15% for 2015-2019
• 20% for the year 2020 and each following year

Electric cooperatives and municipal utilities serving more than 40,000 customers must purchase a specific percent of renewable energy in accordance to the following timetable:

• 1% for 2008-2010
• 3% for 2011-2014
• 6% for 2015-2019
• 10% for 2020 and each following year

Financial Incentives

Property Tax Assessment:
All renewable energy facilities, except for wind energy, have their property taxes assessed based on installed cost in comparison with non-renewable facilities. The comparison value to non-renewables is determined each year. All wind energy systems in operation after June 1, 2006 are assessed on a separate scale based on cost, the revenue generated by electricity sales, and a tax multiplier. This scale was developed because wind turbines have large variations in wind production and are more expensive to construct, making a comparison to non-renewables unjust. However, wind systems operating before June 1, 2006 are still reviewed on the same scale as other renewables.

Property Tax Exemption and Sales Tax Exemption:
Beginning August 3, 2007, Colorado counties and cities are allowed to offer owners who install renewable energy systems on their land, property or sales tax rebates. The program operates locally and interested individuals should contact the community where their property is located to see if a rebate is established.

Green Power Purchasing:
In 2005, the City of Aspen set an objective to obtain 75% of the city’s energy from renewable resources by 2010. As of 2006 Aspen accomplished its goal to offer 75% non-carbon electricity. Six local governments located in the Aspen area purchase more than 10% of their electricity from wind facilities to power their municipal facilities.