But the tides may be turning in 2010. Analysts predict energy trends will strengthen, according to data compiled by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.
"Energy markets are already positioning for a comeback," Tom Clark, executive vice president for the Metro Denver EDC said.
In January, several fossil energy companies with Colorado ties announced strategic changes aimed at developing oil sands, oil shale, and other unconventional resources. Evidence of an improving market also emerged for Colorado renewable energy companies, several of which announced large turbine orders as 2010 began.
While energy markets still face challenges this year, changes in the marketplace thus far suggest many energy companies expect better conditions soon.
While regulatory reforms have recently dominated the government's recovery efforts, funds from the 2009 economic stimulus continue to flow. In early January, the administration approved $2.3 billion in stimulus-funded tax credits that officials hope will spur green jobs creation. Six Colorado companies - Abound Solar, Advanced Energy Industries, Coolerado Corp., ReflecTech, Hexcel Corp., and Vestas - received awards totaling $75.2 million.
In addition to tax credits for some renewable energy companies, Colorado will also receive roughly $6 million in stimulus dollars from the U.S. Department of Labor for job training in renewable energy and other emerging industries.
Two consortiums with Colorado members are scheduled to receive $78 million in stimulus grants for the development of biofuels. Solix Biofuels and Colorado State University are part of a group that will explore algae-to-oil technology, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is part of a group that will research infrastructure compatible with biofuels.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will receive $1.4 million in federal stimulus grants to examine the feasibility of a high-speed rail line. The department will use the funding to study ways an inter-city, high-speed line could connect to Metro Denver's FasTracks network.
CDOT officials will also develop a State Rail Plan, which is required of states designated by the federal government as high-speed rail corridors. These corridors can be eligible for federal funding.
"The hope is that these stimulus dollars will create jobs locally," Clark said.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)