Volume One of the report presents background information on government research conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Research Institute and other institutions. It also collates information from industry associations such as the American Wind Energy Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, National Hydropower Association, as well as some non-profit organizations.
Joint Outlook on Renewable Energy in America is the second volume of the report which presents a scenario compiled by the American renewable energy community. ACORE makes it clear that this report is not a forecast -- it is a scenario of what is achievable if the country wants renewables to reach their full potential, and is willing to embrace the public policies to make that happen.
According to experts, renewable energy could provide up to 635 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity by 2025 – a substantial contribution and potentially more than the nation’s need for new capacity. According to this scenario, this capacity could come from a wide array of new technologies utilizing the full range of our renewable resources:
In addition, the scenario shows that renewable fuels could meet a large portion of U.S. liquid fuel needs. Recent studies show that biofuels could supply 30% to 40% of U.S. petroleum products by 2030. Ethanol fuel alone could reach 11.5 billion gallons per year by the end of the first quarter of 2009, a significant contribution to the approximately 135 billion gallons of gasoline consumed annually.
To make the transition to the renewable energy future that is oulined in the scenario, the report argues that the energy policy of the United States needs to be built on a range of principles, which include:
The report argues that America needs renewable energy, for many reasons:
"America needs energy that is secure, reliable, improves public health, protects the environment, addresses climate change, creates jobs, and provides technological leadership. America needs renewable energy. If renewable energy is to be developed to its full potential, America will need coordinated, sustained federal and state policies that expand renewable energy markets; promote and deploy new technology; and provide appropriate opportunities to encourage renewable energy use in all critical energy market sectors: wholesale and distributed electricity generation, thermal energy applications, and transportation."
The report quotes President Bush on the need to diversify America's energy supply:
"It’s in our vital interest to diversify America’s energy supply – the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of …solar and wind energy. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol, using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.” -- President George W. Bush, State of the Union, 1-23-2007.
ACORE suggests that these reports dispel the commonly held notion that renewable energy cannot supply the energy needs of a growing American economy. But for this to happen, the government would have to commit to long term policies that promote renewable energy.