Project Abstract

Colorado, like other states, has set ambitious goals related to renewable energy generation. While most renewable energy development has been focused on large projects sited on open, primarily agricultural land, the State’s new goals will eventually require the development of smaller projects sited in closer proximity to electricity demand with minimal, if any, requirements for transmission upgrades. Many sites – including brownfields, mine-scarred lands, former landfills and dump sites, abandoned industrial and commercial sites, and other vacant and/or abandoned land that have limitations for other uses – can offer a number of attributes that make them attractive for renewable energy development, including proximity to population centers and utility infrastructure, the potential to make productive use of property that may have restrictions on development, and the opportunity to integrate economic development and habitat improvement.

While the benefits of energy development on brownfields and other underutilized sites are well established, the relatively short timelines associated with utility procurement can be an impediment to the use of these sites when participating in renewable energy requests for proposals (RFPs). Early identification can help position sites to be development-ready when a renewable energy RFP is issued.

This project built a geodatabase and web-mapping application, COLORADO BRIGHTFIELDS, that enables stakeholders to search for brightfield sites in Colorado. Identifying suitable sites ahead of utility procurement processes and making that information available to the broadest array of stakeholders possible will help encourage the use of brownfields and other marginalized properties for renewable energy development.


Governor’s Office

Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration, Office of the State Architect

Research Partners: 

Convergence Associates LLC

Colorado State University

Bright Rain Solutions


Colorado Brightfields 

Inventory and Analysis of Brightfields in Colorado

Related Resources

Colorado Brightfields Flyer


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