SAN FRANCISCO — The Western Region Report, the first portion of the American Council On Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) sixth annual Renewable Energy in the 50 States report, has been released. The first of a four-part series, this portion focuses on the renewable energy sector in the thirteen Western states. The report is a review of state energy policies and programs, investment, and market openness as they relate to the current state of renewable energy and its potential for further growth. Three additional reports will focus on the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast.

“For well over a decade, the individual states — in conjunction with the federal government — have been leading the way in all renewable energy innovation, exploration, investment, and increasing equal market access. In no part of the U.S. is this truer than in the West,” said Michael Brower, ACORE’s interim president and CEO. “With strong renewable portfolio standards (RPS), the political will to protect and/or expand them, and the nearly half of 2012’s new build asset finance for renewable energy, the West is far and away in the national renewable energy vanguard.”

According to the Western Region Report, nearly all existing renewable energy technologies are well suited for deployment in the region. These technologies include solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, marine, and a wide assortment of biofuels. In addition, the West benefits from some of the best solar resources in the country, responsible for roughly 65 percent of the nation’s solar photovoltaic capacity and 86 percent of the nation’s solar thermal electric capacity. The Western region is responsible for about 63 percent of the nation’s installed hydropower capacity, and that hydropower accounts for about 25 percent of the region’s electricity generation. The country’s utility-scale geothermal power projects are found exclusively in this region. Finally, wind power projects have been built in every Western state. In fact, California and Oregon rank in the top five states for wind power capacity.

“There is no shortage of power demand in the thirteen Western states. Their populations are growing and with that growth comes increased need for power. Renewable energy deployment is growing to meet this demand, and the West produced approximately 31 percent of its total energy generation from renewable energy sources. That is compared to 12 percent nationally in 2012,” said Lesley Hunter, ACORE’s research and program manager and lead author of the report. “There can be no doubt that state renewable portfolio standards have been a real driver in this growth. Nine of the states profiled have binding mandates for renewable energy production, many with minimums for certain distributed generation technologies and/or solar energy.”

Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Western Region can be viewed here.

For more information about ACORE, visit

Publication date: 9/30/2013

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