top of page

NREL’s Economic Impact Tops $1 Billion


July 7, 2020: the economic impact of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is reported  for FY 2019 at $1.4 billion across the country—up from $1.1 billion in fiscal 2017. NREL’s economic impact in Colorado rose to $875 million from $748 million during that same period.


Located in Jefferson County, which is part of metropolitan Denver, the U.S. Department of Energy’s NREL has seen its economic impact on the county climb by more than 218% during the seven-year span from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal 2019. The calculation, based on an analysis by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, BoulderPDF, shows the persistent impression NREL has on the area’s economy.

The future energy grid will likely be more complex than today’s technology can support, so NREL is pursuing a wide range of solutions through basic science and engineering that promise to transform energy systems, reduce waste, and lower electricity costs as industry finds ways to bring new NREL technologies to market.

“As global energy use continues to increase, we must ensure our energy sources are safe, secure, and reliable. This is the important work that more than 2,200 dedicated NREL researchers, scientists and professionals strive to move forward each day,” said Dr. Martin Keller, NREL Director. “Our work would not be possible without the support of DOE and the many other global, national, and local partners and stakeholders who are also vested in solving worldwide energy challenges.”

Research conducted at NREL reduces investment risk in new technologies while creating new business opportunities throughout the economy. The dollar figures represent only a fraction of the impacts from NREL, which range from university-laboratory-business collaborations to spinoff technologies that are commercialized.

NREL counted 871 active partnership agreements and 587 partners in fiscal 2019. Approximately 63% of employees were involved in core research and development.

NREL’s direct expenses for fiscal 2019 totaled $491.8 million, of which 87% came from funding from the Department of Energy. The vast majority of funds are spent in Colorado, further boosting the laboratory’s economic importance to the state.

Learn more about NREL’s economic impact and how NREL research explores energy systems and technologies—and the science behind them—for a future powered by affordable, abundant, and clean energy.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
CO-LABS Promote Educate Connect log
bottom of page