Renewable energy and wind farms play roles in the Hickenlooper Administration’s “ground-up” economic-development planning underway aimed at providing guidance for counties in the state.
All 64 counties in the state are part of the process and they’re grouped into 14 regions.
“It certainly got people talking on the community level,” Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County told the Denver Post. El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark said it “tore down silos”
opening up the planing process in El Paso and neighboring counties.
All the regions had to organize their plans as a set of goals, strategies, action and outcomes. The plan for southeastern counties in the state focused, in part, on wind energy and transmission, a natural for the plains area. Northwestern counties like Garfield, Rio Blanco and Routt have a component in their plan dealing with oil and natural gas drilling and mining.
An expert from UC-Boulder cautioned about the process being oversold, however, in remarks to the Post.
“If the exercise identifies some things the state can act on — regulatory issues, taxation, avoiding cannibalistic competition among counties — that’s a good thing, but those are the limits,” said Jeffrey Zax.
“Most development decisions are local and most are made by the market, not government.”
While a handful of issues are common to most counties in Colorado, such as tourism and making downtown corridors more vital, each region identified its own specific economic challenges and opportunities. The plan for Denver and the surrounding counties focuses on procedures more than specific actions.