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Published on July 27th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill


Study Shows Renewable Energy Potential in Every State

July 27th, 2012 by  

A new study produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that every state in the United States of America has the space and resources to generate clean energy.

The report, U.S. RE Technical Potential, looked at the available renewable resources in every state in the nation, and established an upper boundary estimate of development potential.

“Decision-makers 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.”

“This 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.”

The report has the potential to provide decision-makers and utility executives with information comparing estimates across six renewable energy technologies. The report also shows the achievable energy generation of a particular technology given resources availability, system performance, topographic limitations, and environmental and lad-use constraints.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Image Source: Colin Grey 


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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • Mike Straub

    This study pretty much goes without saying, but the focus has to become getting people willing to embrace the power, and not being so addicted to the idea that energy has to come from burning something.  Our future power sources are all around us, and we don’t have to drill, frack, or buy it from countries that don’t have our best interests at heart.  

    An incredible example of utilizing the natural world around us is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).  It’s the process of creating an endless flow of power from the temperature difference in shallow and deep water.  It’s been proven for decades, and can also produce millions of gallons of clean water right along side the electricity.  

    It’s the kind of idea that takes some getting used to for people who think fossil fuels, or nuclear, are the best options, but once you take a look for yourself, you’ll see millions around the world will benefit from the clean, affordable, and reliable power from the sea.

    Take a closer look at the On Project.

  • Pingback: Nearly 200,000GW of solar possible for US: study - reneweconomy.com.au : Renew Economy()

  • Pingback: Nearly 200,000 GW of Solar Possible for United States Says Study()

  • I love the headline, and the concept of this new NREL study.

    The study itself is a GIS exercise making use of a lot of existing data and thus carries forward bad assumptions in some of that data – particularly in the area of supposedly-renewable biomass, like forest biomass, which in fact tends to cause net release of GHG emissions.

    Another quickly-identified squishy area is urban PV potential. It’s hard to see why a study that “establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential” would systematically exclude parking lots from the area of PV potential.

    I’m sure that every state has renewable energy potential, and I hope more people will understand that. I wouldn’t put much faith in the quantitative estimates presented in the current edition of this NREL study.

    • Matt

      Nail it Kevin. Up limit on wind has changed a lot in the last 10 years as tech moved forward and lower wind areas became useful. So it sound like their is more a lower limit.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “a living document”

      Get your criticisms in to the NREL and make them live.

      Wonder if east/west-facing roof solar is included?  I’ve read that east/west-facing panels produce about 80% as much power as south-facing panels.

      With the rapidly dropping price of solar making a 20% loss less of a problem perhaps the amount of sloped roof space should be increased by ~160% (200% more roof *0.8 efficiency)?

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