Governor Ritter Becoming Renewable Pied Piper

Colorado is abuzz this week over news outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter will head a new Center for a New Energy Economy at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins.

According to a university press release, the new center will operate under CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (Soges) and pays $300,000.

At a press conference Ritter called the move a homecoming of sorts , as he’s a CSU grad.

Ritter was a lawyer before becoming Governor, and while much of the media coverage emphasized this was a career change  from law it does not seem to be a career change from politics.

Ritter will essentially be a rainmaker. His salary is currently being paid for by private foundation grants, but it’s assumed he’ll raise enough to more than cover it in the future, as well as hire more people. He will likely connect the new center with a Center for Smart Grid Advancement at CSU, whose creation was announced the same day as Ritter announced his move.

Cynics like Face the State noted that he began his new career with a political stunt, switching the campus electricity grid from coal to diesel in an $11 million demonstration project. Out of 5 MW of power the campus wants to offset, non-renewables are taking 2 MW, solar and biodiesel less than half a megawatt. Political reporter Greg Campbell seemed to think this disingenuous, a stunt, but it could also mean what Ritter says it does, that it’s a start.

Ritter’s long-term goal is to build a business legacy from the 57 clean energy bills he signed in office. Which means we’ll hear a lot more from him.


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Dana Blankenhorn has covered business and technology since 1978. He covered the Houston oil boom of the 1970s, began making his living online in 1985, and launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of e-commerce, in 1994. He has written for a host of off-line and online publications including The Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and ZDNet. He has covered PCs, networks, telecommunications, cable technology, Internet commerce, the Internet of Things, Open Source and Health IT, He began covering alternative energy at his personal blog,, in 2007.

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