Understanding the Economic Impacts of Wind Development in Colorado

 National Renewable Energy LaboratoryMENV students are partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to analyze statewide economic impacts from construction of the Rush Creek Wind Farm. Rush Creek will be Colorado’s largest wind farm, constructed 100 percent within the state. This wind farm will be developed by Invenergy and manufactured by Vestas Wind Systems to provide power for Xcel Energy.

They will be traveling to southeastern Colorado to directly witness the construction of the wind site. While there, they will collect empirical data on economic impacts throughout the supply chain, from construction contractors, transmission line workers, and equipment manufacturers. In addition, they will interview local businesses, such as hotel and restaurant workers, to better understand how wind development impacts the rural community.  After completing their interviews, they will run models and analyze the data at the National Wind Technology Center, located outside of Boulder.

The goal of the project is to understand the various cost and benefits wind development will have on local communities and the state, and document how wind power is affecting the lives of people in rural America. This study is the first of its kind for a wind farm in the U.S.