Renewable Energy

Overview

The Center believes that renewable energy must be a cornerstone of the new energy economy. The Center therefore advocates increased research and development aimed at deployment of renewable energy technologies in all states. On the policy front, the Center provides a repository of energy legislation regarding renewable energy sources. It offers policymakers free access to debates regarding all energy sources

Background

The Center defines renewable energy as any source of energy that can be tapped in such a manner that it can be replenished sustainably. This definition includes wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower. These energy sources are particularly valuable in that they produce few air, land, and water pollutants, especially in comparison to their fossil fuel counterparts. Advanced fuel sources are carbon neutral, and thus help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their associated climate change impacts. Advanced energy sources can be deployed right here in the United States, reducing U.S. reliance on foreign fuels and helping to balance our trade deficit.

Policy Issues

Despite these benefits, in today's energy economy, renewable sources of energy are struggling. For now, many of these renewable sources cost more than their fossil fuel counterparts. Federal subsidies for renewable energy deployment have been intermittent at best, which has caused uncertainty regarding their value, especially among financial institutions. Some renewable energy sources are intermittent in nature. In particular, wind and solar, the two most conventional and commercialized renewable energy sources after hydro, produce varying levels of power and often require additional complementary energy sources to accommodate peak demand loads. Finally, renewable energy sources often require upgrades to the transmission grid, which can impose additional costs.

What We Do

Nevertheless, considering the volatility of fossil fuel prices and their negative effects on public health and welfare, it is important to commercialize emerging renewable energy sources. That will necessarily mean reducing the costs of the more conventional renewable sources. The Center has therefore developed the AEL Tracker to provide information, useful to policymakers and the public, regarding the progress of individual states in developing renewable energy sources. The Center continues to work with policymakers to produce workable and effective legislation to realize the advanced energy economy.

For Further Information:

State Policy

Go to our Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker database to see current energy bills in all 50 states.

State by State RPS Standards and Compliance:

http://dsireusa.org/rpsdata/index.cfm

National Policy

Renewable Energy Statistics and Trends:
http://www.eia.gov/renewable/
 
EPA Clean Energy Program:
 http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/
 
Renewable Energy Innovation and Investment:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/topics/renewable_energy.html