Intelligent Energy

What is your state's renewable energy score?

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The United States led the world in clean energy investment in 2011, according to a new Ernst & Young report. Find out which states lead in the U.S. renewable energy index.

California dominates in nearly every clean energy category, according to a new report by Ernst & Young that ranks states according to renewable energy markets, infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. But that doesn't mean California stands alone.

The report, which was released in conjunction with Ernst & Young's annual global renewable energy index, found a number of states including New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Texas are playing a greater role in the development of clean energy in the United States and well position to benefit from future investments.

Ernst & Young's U.S. Attractiveness Indices scores states on their renewable energy markets, infrastructure and their suitability for individual technologies. The main indices -- all renewables, long-term wind and long-term solar -- take a forward look on the industry. Meaning, a state that has positive attributes such as tax climate or unexploited wind resources, will score well even if that state has little installed capacity. Ernst & Young's "all renewables index" for 2012 is pictured below.

A few other takeaways from the U.S. and global renewable energy reports:

  • American investment in solar and wind tech dominated the global market and propelled the U.S. past China;
  • New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which offered high Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, have overbuilt and are dealing with "hangovers in which each new solar project contributes SREC in an already over-supplied market. These states could experience stagnant growth in the coming years unless their respective legislatures change their renewable portfolio standards.
  • Projects will rely on tax equity partners now that the Section 1603 Treasury grant program has expired. This could limit growth in solar and wind development.
  • Wind will still be supported by the production tax credit at least through the end of the year. Failure to extend this incentive could stop wind development in its tracks, according to the Ernst & Young report.

Photo: Sandia National Laboratories

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure