ACORE’s Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014

Report Forecasts Industry Growth and Highlights Policy Recommendations to Advance an American Renewable Energy Economy

Jointly Authored by U.S. Renewable Energy Trade Associations

The Outlook For Renewable Energy in America (2014) Cover
This publication is available for download. Image courtesy of American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE).

Washington, D.C. March 31, 2014 – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) today announced the release of The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014, jointly authored by U.S. renewable energy trade associations from the power, thermal, and fuel sectors.

The Outlook assesses the renewable energy marketplace and forecasts the future of each renewable energy technology sector, from the perspectives of each of the associations, and provides a list of policy recommendations by the respective associations that would encourage continued industry growth.

“ACORE applauds the unity of the renewable industry community and this united front as reflected in The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014,” said ACORE President and CEO, Michael Brower.

“The report demonstrates the many public and private sector opportunities that exist at the national, regional and local levels for continued industry advancement and investment; however, they are not one-size-fit-all solutions for every renewable technology.

The articles in the report detail specific market drivers for the biofuel, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste, and wind energy sectors.”

“The financial markets have responded to greater American consumer interest in renewable energy with increasing levels of private sector investment,” said Jeffrey Holzschuh, Chairman of Institutional Securities at Morgan Stanley.

“Spurred by growing individual as well as business demand, private sector investment in the U.S. clean energy sector surpassed $100 billion in 2012-2013, stimulating significant economic development while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The trade associations who participated in the Outlook are: Advanced Biofuels Association; American Wind Energy Association; Biomass Power Association; Biomass Thermal Energy Council; Energy Recovery Council; Geothermal Energy Association; Growth Energy; National Hydropower Association; Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition; and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The industry-specific authors of The Outlook forecast renewable energy’s growth to continue, driven by increasing cost-competitiveness with conventional generation, technology advancements, and acceptance by Americans to embrace clean and renewable technologies.

Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association commented,

“Certainty is integral to hydropower’s continued growth over the next five years. Doubt surrounding the extension of tax incentives and the possibility of a drawn out licensing process are the main deterrent for developers that Washington must address.”

“Wind energy is now among the largest sources of new electric power in the U.S.,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

“Technology innovation and U.S. manufacturing have reduced its average cost by 43 percent in just four years. The economic benefits are reaching communities and consumers all over America, with an average of $15 billion a year in private investment and savings on electric bills also now in the billions a year. We’re on track to generate 20 percent of the electricity in America from wind by 2030, and already produce over 25 percent in Iowa and South Dakota.”

“The U.S. is a world leader in geothermal power generation,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, “but to sustain that role, we need the kind of collaboration shown at ACORE’s recent National Renewable Energy Policy Forum to reach state and federal leaders so they will recognize the value of achieving the full potential and diversity of renewable energy.”

“The world has witnessed a sea change in the drivers of energy production and demand,” commented Michael McAdams, President, Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA).

“ABFA believes these issues can be an opportunity and driver for advanced and cellulosic biofuels and we welcome the opportunity to participate with ACORE and the renewable energy community to help support the development and deployment of all renewable technologies.”

ACORE advocates that an America powered on renewable energy and renewable fuels is a stronger, more secure, cleaner, and more prosperous America.

The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014 shows the potential of America’s renewable energy economy to extend beyond one fuel choice or pipeline, to provide the country with an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate the U.S. economy while protecting our environment.

The Review can be downloaded here: http://www.acore.org/outlook2014

About ACORE:

ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2014 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at http://www.acore.org .

New Hydropower Laws Could Add 60 GW Of Clean Energy To US Grid

by Silvio Marcacci — Special to JBS News

The one thing everyone working on energy issues in America can agree upon is non-existent energy policy action at the national level. But late last week President Obama signed two bipartisan bills that could create a major boost for US renewables generation from an unlikely source – small hydropower.

It’s kind of amazing they havn’t gotten much attention, since they’re the first real energy legislation to pass Congress since 2009.

These two bills, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act and Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, will streamline the regulatory process required to add new hydropower generation to existing dams or to upgrade existing hydro generation resources, and could unlock the untapped potential of thousands of miles of waterways and could create 1.2 million green jobs, while adding 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable electricity to the grid.

Hydropower’s Huge Potential

Hydropower may seem to be the under-appreciated stepchild of American electricity generation, but it generates 7% of America’s total electricity, and represents a whopping 56% of all renewables – more than all other clean energy sources combined.

Even though hydropower represents reliable baseload generation capacity that can balance out other renewables, it doesn’t create the same kind of excitement as solar or wind – perhaps because the potential for hydropower seems tapped out.
But a 2012 report from the Department of Energy underscored why overlooking hydropower’s potential was a mistake. 80,000 dams are in service across the US, but only 3% have installed generators. DOE’s report found America could create more than 12 GW of new generation capacity by installing turbines on 54,000 sites where they don’t currently exist and upgrading older generation technology with more efficient turbines.

Opening The Floodgates

Part of the reason American hasn’t added much new hydropower generation is because of red tape, with even the smallest proposals taking years to receive approval. But that’s just the problem these two bills will help solve.

“These bills are an excellent step to unlocking the tens of thousands of megawatts of untapped hydropower capacity that can provide millions of Americans greater access to affordable, reliable electricity,” said Linda Church Ciocci of the National Hydropower Association.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency bill modifies existing laws to streamline small hydro projects and add generation to existing dams and closed-loop energy storage through several steps:

  • Increasing the small hydro exemption to 10 megawatts (MW), up from 5 MW
  • Removing conduit projects under 5 MW from FERC jurisdiction
  • Increasing the conduit exemption to 40 MW for all projects
  • Giving FERC the ability to extend preliminary permits
  • Requiring FERC to explore a 2-year licensing process for non-powered dams and closed-loop pump storage
Pumped hydro energy storage
Pumped hydro energy storage image via Shutterstock

In addition, the Small Conduit Hydropower Development bill authorizes the Interior Department to contract out small hydropower development at Bureau of Reclamation facilities across the US, helping add capacity at government property and irrigation canals.

“By cutting unnecessary Washington red tape, this law gives hydropower developers the certainty they need to move forward with new projects on over 40,000 miles of federal canals throughout the West,” said US Senator John Barrasso (R-WY).

Bipartisan Energy Policy: A Novel Idea

Hydropower facility modernization efforts have been underway across the country for several years, but they were covered by DOE stimulus funds, and with finite funding comes finite projects.

But now that federal policymakers have finally worked together in a bipartisan way to identify and knock down barriers to private investment, American could be flowing toward a hydro-powered future. Just imagine the potential if Congress could agree on any other clean energy issues.

About the Author

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.
This article, New Hydropower Laws Could Add 60 GW Of Clean Energy To US Grid, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.