Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 23, 20173min702

The scientists at Golden's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have received a nearly $2 million federal grant to build a better system to forecast when the sun will be shining, Colorado's U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner announced Friday. The project is part of a Department of Energy program to improve integration of notoriously variable solar-generated electricity into the power grid.


Joey BunchJoey BunchJuly 9, 20176min309

From outer space to Darryl Glenn, there were plenty of fireworks in Colorado Politics last week.

Our staff sized reservoirs, renewable energy and a variety of political maneuvers while others took the week off.

From a crowded field of contenders, these are the stories we think you’ll be talking about for weeks to come.


space flight
Dr. Kjell Lindgren, second from the right, was the commander of a 10-day research mission at the floor of the ocean aboard the Aquarius Laboratory in June. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

5. This is ground control to major economic impact

Kjell Lindgren proves Colorado’s roots run deep in space. The Air Force Academy graduate who also holds degrees from the University of Colorado and Colorado State spoke with Colorado Politics in a phone call from the ocean floor, where the astronaut was doing research much like he did on the International Space Station. Colorado is one of the top states for public and private endeavors in space, and Colorado politicians want to keep it up there.

Read the full story here.


power grid
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

4. NREL in peril

With the Trump administration slashing budgets to pay for tax cuts, and with a dim view of climate change science in general, folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden can only wait to see what that means for jobs and programs. Jefferson County, the state and technology innovators everywhere are waiting nervously, as well.

Read the full story here.


Gross Reservoir
(Photo courtesy of Denver Water)

3. Gross gets a green light in Boulder County

After nearly a decade and a half in the regulatory meat grinder, Denver Water said Friday night that it has approval from federal regulators to raise the dam on a reservoir that will store more Western Slope water. The massive water utility made massive concessions west of the Continental Divide to do the deal.

Read the full story here.


State and Denver officials join organizers of the lucrative Outdoor Retailer show on Thursday to announce that the show is leaving Utah and moving to Colorado. Some of the move was based on politics in Utah over public lands. (Peter Marcus/

2. Welcome to Colorado, where the public lands run free

The Outdoor Retailer show, with its lucrative economic impact and Cliff Bar cache, is moving to Denver from Salt Lake City because of some Utah Republicans’ stance on putting federal public lands into state and local communities’ hands, which could lead to more development and drilling. The issue came to head over President Obama’s Bears Ears Monument in December in southeast Utah, not too far from the Four Corners.

Read the full story here.


Senate primary candidate Darryl Glenn speaks during a rally at Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport, June 20, 2016. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

1. Glenn is in, Hill’s not thrilled

El Paso County Commission Darryl Glenn, who came up short in a U.S. Senate run last year, says he will enter the Republican primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and state Sen. Owen Hill in the 5th Congressional District. In a separate story by Ernest Luning, Hill welcomed Glenn to the race and called him “short on accomplishments.”

Read the first story here.

Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJuly 6, 201714min530
GOLDEN – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has 40 years of history behind it, but walking through its sprawling Front Range campus one can’t help but think 40 years into the future. Solar cells that can be spray-painted onto windows or printed at a Home Depot; power grids that can take in a wide portfolio […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 22, 20175min578

In advance of a pending Trump administration 2018 budget proposal to slash U.S. Department of Energy research programs, Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner joined fellow Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and four other GOP members of the Senate in a letter to President Trump urging him to stay the course on the funding. The letter got some press in the nation’s capital last week.

Some key passages:

Government-sponsored research is one of the most important investments our country can make to encourage innovation, unleash our free enterprise system to create good-paying jobs, and ensure American competitiveness in a global economy.

The United States does many things well, but one thing we do better than any other country in the world is innovation through research.  The Department of Energy’s research programs have made the United States a world leader in science and technology, and will help the United States maintain its brainpower advantage and remain competitive with countries like China and India. …

… We cannot lose the technological advantages we have gained through our country’s investment in research and development.  Governing is about setting priorities, and the federal debt is not the result of Congress overspending on science and energy research each year. We urge you to continue to invest in the Department of Energy’s research and development programs in fiscal year 2018.

A call for continued research subsidies, to say nothing of a tribute to public-private partnerships, aren’t the usual fare of free-marketeering, budget-hawkish Republicans. Then again, federal spending isn’t only about political philosophy.

The letter’s policy merits aside, there are no doubt some hard-boiled political considerations behind it. Among them — for Gardner, at least: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

A draft of the administration’s budget proposal included not only steep cuts to the Energy Department’s fossil fuels and nuclear programs but also a dramatic reduction in funding — on the order of 70 percent — to the department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. That’s the agency that, according the Washington Post in March, pretty much pays the federal portion of the Golden’s lab’s tab:

Several staffers said cuts of that magnitude would damage U.S. research and technological competitiveness. They suggested much of the brunt of the cuts could fall on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at Golden, Colo., the country’s leading clean energy research facility. …

… Virtually all of the lab’s federal funding comes from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy — $273 million out of its total federal budget of $292 million in 2016.

The lab, better known as NREL, has a total budget of over $350 million and nearly 1,700 employees, giving it a substantial economic impact on Golden and surrounding Jefferson and Boulder counties.