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Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West

Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West

Date: 8/31/2013

According to researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), by 2025 wind and solar power electricity generation could become cost-competitive without federal subsidies. The report, Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West, discusses how concentrating renewable energy development in the most productive locations can make this scenario a reality.

The report assesses the outlook for utility-scale renewable energy development in the West once states have met their renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. In the West, the last state RPS culminates in 2025, so the analysis uses 2025 as a transition point on the timeline of renewable energy development. Most western states appear to be on track to meet their final requirements, relying primarily on renewable resources located relatively close to the customers being served. What happens next depends on several factors, including trends in the supply and price of natural gas, greenhouse gas and other environmental regulations, consumer preferences, technological breakthroughs, and future public policies and regulations. Changes in any one of these factors could make future renewable energy options more or less attractive. An executive summary and NREL news article about the report, "NREL Study Suggests Cost Gap for Western Renewables Could Narrow by 2025" are available.

This information was last updated on 9/24/2013

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