The U.S. West saw the addition of nearly 4 GW of new renewable energy last year – equal to more than two-thirds of total 2013 capacity additions in the country, 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.
According to the report, renewable energy is now responsible for over 20% of electricity generation in six western states. Furthermore, the report expects that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to cut carbon-dioxide pollutants from power plants will have a significant effect on western states' energy sectors, further increasing the role of renewable energy in the region's overall power mix.
‘The American West continues to be the most advanced area of the country for renewable energy,’ comments lead author Lesley Hunter. ‘Nearly all available renewable technologies are represented at some scale in the West, from solar thermal to hydrokinetic energy. We should continue to see major investment into the West, driven by falling costs and concerns about carbon pollution and other challenges, such as the water-energy nexus.’
ACORE also used data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance to map investing trends. In 2013, the report says the West attracted over a third of the country's combined venture capital, private equity and asset finance investment in the renewable energy sector. Altogether, the region produced approximately 34% of its total electricity generation from renewable energy sources – compared to roughly 13% nationally.
ACORE released a Northeastern Region report in June and will be releasing Midwestern and Southeastern reports later this year.