NREL Study Shows Renewable Energy Potential in Every State

August 1, 2012

A new study of renewable energy's technical potential finds that every state in the nation has the space and resources to generate clean energy. The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produced the study, U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials, which looks at each state's available renewable resources for solar, wind, biopower, geothermal, and hydropower energy. The study establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential. Economic or market restraints would factor into what projects might actually be deployed.

The report is valuable for decision makers and utility executives because it compares estimates across renewable energy technologies and unifies assumptions and methods. It shows the achievable energy generation of a particular technology given resource availability, system performance, topographic limitations, and environmental and land-use constraints. The study includes state-level maps and tables containing available land area (square kilometers), installed capacity (gigawatts), and electric generation (gigawatt-hours) for each technology. See the NREL press release and the complete reportPDF.