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Posted: May 25, 2011

Colorado reigns as a clean energy king

Western states hold five of the top seven spots

Lisa Ryckman

Colorado came in fifth out of all 50 states in this year's U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index because of its dominance in clean energy technology, policy and investment.

The second annual cleantech analysis from Clean Edge, a Portland, Ore.-based research firm, found California leading all 50 states with a score of 95.3, followed by Oregon at 79.4. Massachusetts and New York came in third and fourth, and Colorado, Washington and New Mexico filled spots five through seven. Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont rounded out the top 10.

The research firm's ranking looks at 70 different indicators in clean energy technology, policy and finance, including total electricity produced by clean-energy sources; hybrid and electric vehicles on the road; clean-energy venture and patent activity; and policy regulations and incentives.

"This year's Leadership index shows that clean-energy activity is dispersed across the nation, with leaders on both coasts and in between," Clean
Edge Managing Director Ron Pernick says. "While the industry faces many challenges, including strong national-level commitments in China and
Germany against the backdrop of uncertain federal leadership here, the U.S. is still a relevant clean-energy innovator as exhibited by the state-level
movements tracked in this year's Leadership index."

The Clean Edge analysis identified the bottom 10 states as Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Highlights from this year's research include:

 Three states now generate more than 10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and/or geothermal. Iowa leads the nation with 15.4 percent of its electricity now generated from wind power, followed by North Dakota (11.99 percent from wind) and California (10.06 percent from wind, solar, and geothermal).

 Top-ranked California's longtime commitment to clean energy has put the state far ahead of the pack in terms of technology deployment and capital creation. The state's burgeoning clean-energy industry brings in more venture capital than all other states combined.

 Idaho leads the U.S. in clean electricity as a percentage of its total generation - at an astounding 84 percent - when you include hydro and biomass. Other states that get more than 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources including hydro and biomass are Washington (71.59 percent), South Dakota (65 percent), and Oregon (63.84 percent).

 Oklahoma had more new EVs registered last year than any other state, but the number is somewhat misleading. Two of the nation's largest rental car agencies register their vehicles in Oklahoma, accounting for the state's high ranking for EV registrations in 2010. Without that statistical anomaly, California is the nation's EV leader.

 Mississippi, which ranks in the bottom 10 of the overall Leadership Index, is aggressively pursuing cleantech manufacturing as it aims to garner its share of the cleantech market. In the past year, the state has attracted a host of cleantech companies to build manufacturing facilities and plants there, including California-based solar company Stion Solar Panels and Texas-based biofuel company KiOR.

Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector, delivers comprehensive insights to corporations, investors, government, and other key stakeholders. Learn more about Clean Edge at www.cleanedge.com.
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Lisa Ryckman is the Associate Editor/Online at ColoradoBiz. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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