Gov. Ritter names renewable energy award winners

Gov. Bill Ritter announced the 2009 winners of the third annual Governor’s Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards. The awards honor outstanding contributions made by individuals and organizations to protect Colorado’s environment, diversify the state’s energy portfolio and provide clean power through renewable energy.

"Colorado is blessed with a creative and entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of our New Energy Economy," Gov. Ritter said. "Congratulations to these organizations and individuals who are building a new economic future, creating new jobs, protecting our state’s unique environment and increasing our energy security."

The 2009 award winners are:

  • Individual: Terry Meikle has advanced efforts to research and successfully test woody biomass as a power source for Colorado Springs Utilities. Using the forest debris as a fuel source is expected to replace 75,000 tons of coal a year starting in 2011. Additionally, the shift saves natural resources, diversifies energy supplies, creates a market for beetle-kill and forest debris, and reduces fossil carbon emissions. The work earned Colorado Springs Utilities a $250,000 woody biomass utilization grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last year.

  • Small Business: OPX Biotechnologies Inc. (OPXBIO) of Boulder uses bioengineering technology to convert renewable crops and other feedstocks into biofuel and bio-based chemistry products that offset the use of petroleum-based alternatives. The OPXBIO process has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75 percent and petroleum consumption by more than one half-million barrels per year compared to typical crude oil based processes.

  • Large Business: Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas), headquartered in Broomfield, is an industry leader in renewable energy with over 40 wind farms nationwide and more than 4,000 megawatts of capacity. RES Americas is deeply involved in educating students in renewable energy and in research and development with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and other partners, to further deployment of renewable energy. The company has increased its staff by 25 percent during the economic downturn and is fully committed to a sustainable energy future.

  • Institution: Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association serves over 35,000 consumers in Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties.  Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association has worked with customers to add 20 solar and wind systems, generating roughly 75 kilowatts of renewable energy. Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association also partnered with the StEPP Foundation, Center for Resource Conservation, Namaste Solar and the St. Vrain School District to install a 25-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at Lyons High School, and support a renewable energy curriculum. PVREA will also be purchasing electricity generated from methane gas captured at the Larimer County Landfill.

  • Nonprofit: Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster is an economic development organization focused on growing clean and renewable energy jobs in Northern Colorado.  The clean energy cluster attracts new clean and renewable energy companies to the region while assisting existing businesses and supporting local start-ups engaged in clean energy. It has also been involved in clean energy initiatives tied to FortZED in Fort Collins, the International Clean Tech Network and the State Land Board. 

The winners each received an award created by Colorado artist Melinda Laz.