A report recently issued by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that state and local policy are important factors in encouraging clean energy development and energy conservation. NREL says the “State of States 2010” report draws from an “emerging body of literature” which shows the link between state policy and renewable energy by quantifying the connection between state clean energy policies, renewable energy development and actual reductions in energy use.
NREL’s statement indicates this is the first time that energy efficiency has been factored into a study like this. Connections have now been drawn between reduced energy use and building codes along with electricity prices. It is also suggested that, since a connection between state policy and increased solar and wind power development exists, the adoption of similar state policies for other renewable energy resources, such as geothermal or wave energy, would also result in increased development in those areas.
LeAnn M. Oliver, DOE Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program Manager, stated that state policies could help carry on the work in renewable energy that has been spurred on by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and claims that the State of States 2010 report “offers practical information to policymakers on how to further promote those policies.”
NREL also highlights findings from the DOE’s “2009 U.S. State Clean Energy Data Book” which, among other topics, discusses which states and regions are leading in overall renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency policy. Some of those findings are listed below.
- In 2009, Maine had the largest percentage—23 percent—of non-hydro renewable generation, mostly from bioenergy.
- Texas leads the country in total non-hydro installed renewable energy capacity.
- California is the leader in solar energy installed capacity.
- Oregon, California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania have the strictest building codes, which require high efficiency in commercial and residential construction.