AMERICAN COUNCIL ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014 assesses the marketplace and forecasts the future of each renewable energy technology sector from the perspectives of U.S. renewable energy trade associations. Each sector forecast is accompanied by a list of the trade association’s specific policy recommendations that they believe might encourage continued industry growth.
Renewable energy has now become a technology of choice for many Americans, accounting for nearly 40% of all new, domestic power capacity installed in 2013. Presently, renewable power capacity exceeds 190 GW, biofuels are responsible for roughly 10% of our nation’s fuel supply, and renewable thermal energy systems heat and cool a growing number of homes, businesses, public buildings, and other structures throughout the country. The array of technologies are either fully or increasingly cost-competitive with conventional energy sources, and costs continue to fall. Per Bloomberg New Energy Finance, private sector investment in the U.S. clean energy sector surpassed $100 billion in 2012–2013, stimulating economic development while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. The industry-specific authors of the Outlook forecast this growth to continue, driven by increasing cost-competitiveness with conventional generation, technology advancements, and growing acceptance by Americans to embrace clean and renewable technologies.
The impressive growth of renewable energy over the past decade is a signal that, when certain, state and federal policies have worked. Further scale up requires evolving and cost-effective policies that drive continued private-sector investment. ACORE offers the following, high-level recommendations for growth:
- Building on the success of past and present policy efforts, reinvigorate effective policies to promote market certainty, stable growth, and align federal, state, and private initiatives.
- Increase access to greater amounts of cheaper and more liquid capital by extending to renewable energy innovative financing options that are successful in motivating capital formation in other sectors.
- Promote the expansion of all proven forms of renewable energy, whether centralized or distributed power generation, transportation fuels, thermal energy, or other technologies. America needs a diverse array of options to transform its energy sector to meet 21st century needs.
- Continue support of public and private research, development, demonstration, and deployment to fuel the next generation of renewable technologies.
- Build renewable energy in tandem with enabling technologies, such as energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, waste heat, and smart grid technologies, to enhance system effectiveness.
A number of opportunities exist at the federal, state, and local levels for industry advancement and investment; however, they are not one-size-fit-all solutions for every renewable technology. The articles in this report detail specific market drivers for the biofuel, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste, and wind energy sectors. We applaud the unity of the renewable industry community and their united front demonstrated in The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014.
With the right policy mechanisms in place, the potential of America’s clean energy economy extends beyond one fuel choice or pipeline, and provides the country with an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate our economy while protecting our environment. An America powered on renewable power, fuels, and thermal energy is a stronger, more secure, prosperous and cleaner America.
About the American Council on Renewable Energy
ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE provides a common educational platform for a wide range of interests in the renewable energy community, focusing on technology, finance and policy. We convene thought leadership forums and create energy industry partnerships to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy.