National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) Economic Impact

Besides all of the Federal Labs located in the Boulder area, there’s one overlooked lab in our area.

That’s the Golden-based, US Department of Energy’s  National Renewable Energy lab. The economic impact of this lab for Colorado is quite extensive. At a time when jobs are a concern, the economy is on everyone’s mind and the unemployment rate is a burr under many people’s saddle, we have to look locally at what a great situation we have here, even outside of Boulder and Broomfield County.

There was a new study by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder.

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I’d seriously enjoy having the opportunity to talk to you about your plans if you’re moving, or if you know someone who is considering a move, and needs some straight answers.

According to the study, NREL is the largest federal lab in the state. The net economic benefit, according the data from the NREL website, was $814.8 million in fiscal year 2012.

NREL’s main campus, and half of its employees live in Jefferson County. Consequently, Jeffco garnered the greatest economic impact, and I’m sure the city of Golden took in a bit of revenue from the lab as well.

These numbers are up over 38% when compared to the economic impact from NREL in 2009. That’s a pretty substantial increase in 3 years.

The Research Support Facility alone has more than 1,300 employees and it is one of the world’s most energy efficient large office buildings. (I would certainly hope so, given the orientation of the lab!)

This year we can expect an expansion of the South Table Mountain campus, which will likely be a multi-year project to provide additional research capabilities needed to help meet the clean energy challenges of the nation, according to NREL.

From the NREL website:

The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, which manages and operates NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy, asked the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at CU to measure objectively the economic and fiscal impacts of the lab for FY 2012. The study is online athttp://www.nrel.gov/news/pdfs/nrel_report_january_2013.pdf.PDF

We should also keep in mind that in addition to the economic impact for the area, there’s also positive ‘downstream’ benefits such as technology transfer, commercialization, new businesses created, and the influence on students imaginations who might want to work in a career at NREL or other industries and companies focused on clean energy.

What we may want to ask ourselves is, what’s the hard cost to us as tax payers for this research and clean energy production as compared to existing natural resources such as gas and coal, which are abundantly available?

What you do you think?

Zachary Epps, GRI, ABR, REALTOR®, Eco-Broker®, full-time RE/MAX professional, and author of

The Boulder Real Estate and Neighborhood Guide 

The Boulder Condo Guide 

The Home Buyer’s Handbook

Call, text, or email me today!… I’d seriously enjoy having the opportunity to talk to you about your plans if you’re moving, or if you know someone who is considering a move, and needs some straight answers.

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