Renewable energy in the US Western states – ACORE gives update

renewable energy in North America
ACORE predicts the US’ 13 Western states will increasingly find regional solutions over individual compliance plans in a bid to drive further adoption of renewable energy

In North America, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) last week released a new report summarising adoption of renewable energy in each of the 13 Western US states.

The report ‘Renewable Energy in the 50 States’ discusses states’ percentages of generation from each electricity source, renewable electric capacity, renewable transformation, private sector investment, state policies and other factors shaping the market development.

States whose renewable energy status is analysed by the study are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montano, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoning.

According to the report, in order to integrate further increases in renewable capacity, Western US states’ regulators are seeking to employ measures to better manage energy storage and flexible demand response capacity.

ACORE believes the reliability of storage systems would make facilitate the intermittency inherent in wind and solar as well as lower the need to curtail production during periods of supply.

The report points to the continuous increase in opportunities and present challenges for renewable generation due to dynamic changes in markets as well as state and federal policy initiatives.

In regard to policies supporting enhancement of renewable energy, the California legislature has recently passed a legislation to increase its renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

According to ACORE, the legislation will result in the introduction of new renewable energy projects in California and neighbouring states.

Collaboration for renewable energy solutions

The study findings recommend that utilities and regulators moving towards an integrated grid fully utilise the advantages of renewable supplies, transmission infrastructure and manage operational costs to prove interdependence of their electric grids.

In 2014, PacifiCorp and the California Independent System Operator (ISO) launched a regional real time Imbalance Market, which has reportedly in its first eight months of market operations avoided 1.553 metric tons of CO2 emissions by reducing renewable curtailment.

The Imbalance Market is set to include NV Energy in Q4 of 2015, and Arizona Public Service and Puget Sound Energy in 2016, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

ACORE predicts the US Western states will increasingly propose and implement regional solutions such as the EPA Clean Power Plan compared to individual compliance plans to drive further adoption and improvement of renewable energy.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.