new study of renewable energy’s technical potential finds that every
state in the nation has the space and resource to generate clean energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory produced the study, U.S. RE Technical Potential,
which looks at available renewable resources in each state. It
establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential.
Economic or market restraints would factor into what projects might
actually be deployed.
report is valuable for decision-makers and utility executives because
it compares estimates across six renewable energy technologies and
unifies assumptions and methods. It shows the achievable energy
generation of a particular technology given resource availability –
solar, wind, geothermal availability, etc.—system performance,
topographic limitations, and environmental and land-use constraints.
study includes state-level maps and tables containing available land
area (square kilometers), installed capacity (gigawatts), and electric
generation (gigawatt-hours) for each technology.
using the study will get a sense of scale regarding the potential for
renewables, and which technologies are worth examining,” said NREL’s
Anthony Lopez, a co-author of the study. “Energy modelers also will find
the study valuable.”
is intended to be a living document,” NREL’s Donna Heimiller, another
co-author, added. “We’ll be frequently updating the information as we
get more data.”