Renewable Energy Nearly 50% Of U.S. Added Capacity Last Year


Renewable energy projects in the U.S. experienced a banner year in 2012, with wind deployment adding a record 13,124 MW of capacity and solar adding 3,313 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity, finds a new report from Ernst & Young. In fact, the report says renewables accounted for close to 50% of the nation's added capacity last year.

‘While overall U.S. investment in clean energy is down, it's still ahead of annual investment from prior years,’ says Ernst & Young's Michael Bernier. ‘What's important to note is that the $44.2 billion invested is not representative of the industry's true expansion. Solar technology, for example, is increasingly cost effective. As prices fall, the initial investment goes a lot further; $1 billion installs a lot more solar than it did five years ago.’

The Ernst & Young report, ‘United States renewable energy attractiveness indices (USAI),’ highlights trends in U.S. renewable investment and ranks the states in terms of their attractiveness for clean technology investment.

With some shake-up in the top 10 rankings, the report says California is once again leading the nation in renewable energy. However, some states are not far behind the Golden State. Texas, for example, remains the king of the wind installed base. California, though, is working to ensure the long-term health of its renewable energy infrastructure through the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, which identifies transmission projects needed to get renewable energy power to consumers and to support future energy policy. The report says state policy support and a favorable regulatory environment will determine whether other states will catch up.

The top rankings in this edition of the USAI are as follows:

‘All renewables’ index

  1. California
  2. Hawaii
  3. Texas
  4. Colorado
  5. Nevada

Long-term solar index

  1. California
  2. Hawaii
  3. Nevada
  4. New Mexico
  5. Colorado

Long-term wind index

  1. Texas
  2. Colorado
  3. Illinois
  4. Iowa
  5. California

The full USAI report is available here.

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