The U.S. West leads the rest of the country in generation and investment for renewable energy, according to a new report from the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). The Western Region update, part of the group's annual Renewable Energy in the 50 States series, covers 13 western states from California to Wyoming.
‘So much of renewable energy's success can be traced back to this part of the country,’ says Dan Reicher, interim president and CEO of ACORE.
This year's update says that in 2014, the western renewable energy sector attracted nearly half of the U.S.' combined venture capital, private equity, and asset finance investment and produced roughly one-third of the region's total electricity generation – compared to about 13% nationally. In fact, the report notes that half of the nation's total renewable power capacity is located in the 13 western states, including 60% of all hydro, 70% of all solar, and 100% of all geothermal power.
Also among its key findings, the report highlights the broad scope of clean energy deployment state by state. The report says California has strong policy support and diverse renewable resources, helping attract more investments than any other state, with $5.2 billion invested in 2014. Arizona has the second highest solar capacity in the region, behind only California. However, due to unfavorable policy changes, the Grand Canyon State installed only half the amount of capacity in 2014 than it installed in the year prior.
The report also highlights the recent expansions of Hawaii's and California's renewable portfolio standards – to 100% and 50%, respectively – which are expected to drive significant gigawatts of new projects in the upcoming years.
The full report is available here.