The Colorado Region 9 Energy Sector Partnership met on September 9, 2014 to confirm priority opportunities and requirements to grow the sector in the greater La Plata-region.

First an overview of what Sector Partnership are and the successes and activities occurring around the region were identified.  Then those in attendance identified the following priority opportunities driving growth of the sector:

  • Diversity of Resources:  the region has a diverse source of resources to draw from. The energy sector encompasses renewables such as solar and wind as well as extractable resources such as CNG, Shale Gas, Coal , Nuclear, and CO2
  • New Technologies and Processes:  Employers mentioned several new technologies such as horizontal drilling, water recycling and distributed generation as presenting opportunity to grow the sector. Federal and state funded research and development projects also present an opportunity to grow the sector.
  • Local Value Chain of Services:  Region 9’s strong energy sector supports a local value chain that offers critical services to energy sector employers.

To capitalize on these promising opportunities to grow the sector, participants then identified three priority areas for action with individuals volunteering to be initial champions in each area:

  • Prepare local residents for growing job opportunities: The energy sector offers many good jobs and employers would like to ensure that area residents are able to benefit from these jobs now and in the future. Addressing current workforce needs will help the energy industries maintain competitiveness , and training up the local talent pipeline will ensure a steady stream of qualified local residents who are able to live and work in southwest Colorado.
  • Communicate with the local community (residents, politicians, institutions) about the positive benefits of the local energy industry:  partners identified the need to be more active about communicating how the energy industry is important to the local economy. To achieve thoughtful planning in local and state policies (including local education policies) building support  and knowledge by educating the local community is critical.
  • Infrastructure: The region has many infrastructure assets already in place, but expanding rail and air service as well as planning ahead for distribution infrastructure is critical to growing the sector.

 The meeting concluded with each employer offering their vision of how the region can work together more broadly to leverage these opportunities and meet the above requirements. Employers agreed that the next step would be to have phone meeting around each of the three areas to identify specific outcomes (i.e., what does success look like in measurable ways) and actions (i.e., what needs to happen to achieve these outcomes).  Industry leaders will identify the actions to be implanted and how to involve partners in education, workforce and economic development.  The results/action will be brought back to the group at the next Region 9 Energy Sector Partnership meeting.