Renewable energy can be categorized broadly in two segments: large- or utility-scale and distribute generation. The difference is not clear-cut, but we can say in general terms that distributed generation comprises smaller projects that are closer to the places where the energy will be consumed. We have a few wind farms in the east plains. These are utility-scale projects that need transmission lines to bring the energy to the bigger population centers in the front range. An example of distributed generation would be a system of solar panels in the rooftop of a house. These are two examples that can help you understand the difference between large-scale and distributed generation projects. Building more Distributed Generation projects in Colorado will bring many benefits to the state. Among them we find:
» Lowering long term costs for Coloradans: Distributed Generation (DM) eliminates transmission line
construction, maintenance and operational expenses. This reduces the costs to the end
consumer. Furthermore, renewable energy technologies shield the end consumer from fossil
fuel price volatility.
» Protection of the environment: DG RE helps lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse
gases. DG can also have beneficial effects on land use by reducing the size/amount of rights-ofways
that would otherwise be needed to build or upgrade power stations, electric transmission,
and electric distribution lines.
» Energy Security: Distributed generation contributes to energy security by reducing dependence
on large, remotely located generating stations. Small-scale generating faculties located close to
the load reduce vulnerability of disruption of the electric energy supply to an area due to natural
disaster, accident or terrorism. Renewable energy technologies also reduce our dependence on
House Bill 10-1001, recognizing the extra benefits of distributed generation (DG), included a
requirement for DG projects under the 30% Renewable Energy Standard that our state has. Under state
law, to be considered distributed generation a project must comply either of two conditions: 1) to
produce no more than 120% of the total on-site load, or 2) have a total capacity under 30 MW in the
case of biomass, wind, solar photovoltaic and geothermal, or 10 MW in the case of hydropower
The Colorado Energy Office is offering assistance to entities interested in developing renewable
energy projects at a DG-scale. Please explore the different subsections of the Distributed Generation
portal at the CEO's website to understand how we can help you to permit and build your project.