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Colorado's Energy Resources  
Ponnequin Wind Farm with Longs Peak in the backgroundOil well in Washington County, CO.Colorado is rich in fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), renewable energy resources (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind), and uranium.  In 2010, the fossil fuels industry alone generated $10.24 billion in revenues. 

Resources Presentation: The talk that has been given to more than 35,000 Colorado citizens may now be viewed online, courtesy of the University of Colorado-Denver Business School. "The Global Scramble for Natural Resources--Its Impact on Colorado" by Director of the Colorado Geological Survey Dr. Vince Matthews covers the strain that is being put on mineral and energy resources by the unprecedented global demand of the past decade. To view the video click here. To download the powerpoint, click here.

Colorado Quick Facts

  • Ten of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and three of its 100 largest oil fields are found in Colorado.
  • Colorado is responsible for more than one-fourth of all coalbed methane produced in the United States. Coalbed methane output accounts for about one-half of Colorado’s natural gas production.
  • The Rockies Express Pipeline, which began service in May 2008, helps move Colorado’s rapidly increasing natural gas production to markets in the Midwest.
  • Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels of oil — nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. However, oil production from those deposits remains speculative.
  • A proposed biomass plant in Vail would use thousands of trees that were recently killed by pine beetles as its feedstock.

CGS studies various aspects of energy in Colorado, gathers data, and each year publishes an annual report on the mineral and energy industry in Colorado.  We also prepare the section on the mineral and energy sectors of Colorado's economy for the BEOF annual forecast issued by the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business.

To view the U.S. Energy Information Agency's energy data on Colorado, click here, and for their analysis, click here.

To learn about Colorado's new, Niobrara oil boom, click here.

To view a breakdown of what the U.S. energy sources are, and where they are used, click here

Pictured above right: Oil well in Washington County, and Ponnequin Wind Farm with Longs Peak in the background
Global Energy and Colorado 

To visit the original of this map, click here.

Colorado is being affected by the global demand for minerals and energy. The demands being put on the globe's natural resources by China and India are unprecedented. This impacts prices and production of Colorado resources.  To download a large PowerPoint on the Global Scramble for Natural Resources and Its Impact on Colorado, click here.

Open pit coal mining in northwestern Colorado near Craig. Note the tiny, white pickup truck in the bottom of the pit.

Above: Open pit coal mining in northwestern Colorado near Craig. Note the tiny, white pickup truck in the bottom of the pit. Below: Colorado's 8.6 MW solar PV plant in the San Luis Valley near Mosca, CO.

Colorado's 8.6 MW solar PV plant in the San Luis Valley near Mosca, CO.

CGS Studies in Energy 

CGS has been involved in studies to help understand the geology of energy resources in Colorado.  For instance one of the very first scientific studies of oil shale was published by CGS in 1921. For a list of CGS publications on energy, click here.

During the 1970s and 80s, CGS published 13 reports on the Coalbed Methane (CBM) potential in Colorado.  Today CBM accounts for 40% of the natural gas production in Colorado and generates ~$3.2 billion in revenues.

Also during the 1970s and 80s, CGS published 33 reports on various aspects of geothermal energy in Colorado. Although this did not lead immediately to the development of geothermal energy, it serves as a sound base of knowledge with the current round of exploration for generation of electricity from geothermal resources in the state. 

CGS renewed its efforts in geothermal in 2005 and has worked closely with the Governor's Energy Office since then. Two new maps were recently issued: Geothermal Gradient Map of Colorado and
Geothermal Heat Flow Map of Colorado.

Last Updated: 4/23/2012 5:04 PM 
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