Bill Ritter toured renewable energy laboratories at the Colorado School of Mines on Tuesday and said he was impressed with the possibilities they present for Colorado to develop new industries.
"We're really excited about this," Ritter said.
Dag Nummedal, director of the Colorado Energy Research Institute or CERI, said new public-private partnerships announced Monday by Ritter will help universities work with companies to pioneer new technologies.
Nummedal said Colorado is one of the few states doing parallel research on fossil fuels and renewable energy.
Ritter said the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels will create a partnership between businesses and the newly formed Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory.
During the tour, Ritter watched ongoing projects to develop thin film solar cells and fuel cells to produce electricity.
Craig Taylor, associate director of CERI, told Ritter some of the projects will pay off in a few years, but he said it could take 10 years to come up with thin film solar cells to replace the bulky crystal silicon now being used in the industry.
Last month, CERI released a report that estimated that the oil and gas industry contributes $23.5 billion a year to the Colorado economy, including mineral royalties, lease payments and extraction taxes.
School officials said the Colorado Fuel Cell Center at the Colorado School of Mines is working on fuel cells that could power homes and cars. The lab expects to attract more than 30 scientists and researchers.
The collaboratory is a partnership among the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University.