U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
NREL Report Sees Near-Term Supply Shortage for Renewable Power
November 14, 2007
A combination of state renewable energy requirements and voluntary
"green power" purchases of renewable energy are causing the demand for
renewable energy to exceed the supply, according to a recent report
from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Published in late
October, the report notes that green power purchases reached
12 million megawatt-hours in 2006, a three-fold increase from 2003.
Meanwhile, 25 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws
that require renewable energy to provide from 2% to 30% of each
state's electricity supply within the next 5 to 15 years.
Noting that most of the new renewable energy capacity is currently in the form of wind power, the report projects near-term renewable energy
capacity increases using two scenarios: a steady increase of 4,000
megawatts (MW) per year through 2010, and an increase that accelerates
to 7,000 MW per year by 2010. Assuming a continued growth in green
power of 35% per year, and taking into account the amount of renewable
power required by the states, the report finds that demand for
renewable power is already slightly exceeding the supply. In the
"steady increase" scenario, supply lags further and further behind
demand through 2010, while the "accelerating supply" scenario comes much
closer to meeting demand, but still falls short.
The report concludes that there is a national need to accelerate
renewable energy deployment from all energy sources to meet the
burgeoning demand for renewable power. It also notes that future
policy changes could increase the demand or slow the increase in the
supply, while a supply shortage could drive up costs in the green
power market and discourage the voluntary purchasing of renewable
power. See the NREL report on the Green Power Network Web site (PDF 521 KB).
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