13 Western states responsible for 65% of US’ solar PV capacity

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ACORE releases Western Region Report focused on the renewable energy sector in the thirteen Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 

The American Council On Renewagle Energy (ACORE) has released the Western Region Report. It is the first part of ACORE’s 6th annual Renewable Energy in the 50 States report, which consists of four parts in total. This portion focuses on the renewable energy sector in the thirteen Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The report provides an executive summary on the status of renewable energy implementation at the state-level. It is a review of state energy policies and programs, investment, and market openness as they relate to the current state of renewable energy and its potential for further growth. The three additional reports will be focused on the Midwest, Northeast, and the Southeast.

“For well over a decade, the individual states – in conjunction with the federal government – have been leading the way in all renewable energy innovation, exploration, investment, and increasing equal market access. In no part of the U.S. is this truer than in the West,” said Michael Brower, ACORE’s Interim President and CEO. “With strong renewable portfolio standards (RPS), the political will to protect and/or expand them, and the nearly half of 2012’s new build asset finance for renewable energy, the West is far and away in the national renewable energy vanguard. America needs all the states in our three other regions to quickly follow their lead.”

According to the report, nearly all existing renewable energy technologies are well suited for deployment in the thirteen Western states – including include solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, marine, and a wide assortment of biofuels. On top of that, the West benefits from some of the best solar resources in the country, responsible for roughly 65% of the nation’s solar photovoltaic capacity and 86% of the nation’s solar thermal electric capacity. 

Renewable energy deployment is growing to meet the increasing demand for electricity, and the West produced approximately 31% of its total energy generation from renewable energy sources – compared to 12% nationally in 2012.

Lesley Hunter, ACORE’s Research and Program Manager and lead author of the report, commented: “There can be no doubt that state renewable portfolio standards have been a real driver in this growth. Nine of the states profiled have binding mandates for renewable energy production, many with minimums for certain distributed generation technologies and/or solar energy. Protecting and expanding these standards is imperative.”

ACORE’s 2013 Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Western Region report can be viewed here.