State Rankings by Renewable Energy Resource
NREL's State of the States 2009 analysis summarizes the resource-specific renewable energy generation data from 2007 at the state level. It identifies the states leading in the development of the following renewable energy resources:
The availability of a renewable resource within a state greatly affects the level of in-state generation possible. However, resource availability is clearly not the only factor determining the level of generation. Policy incentives can play a major role in whether the resources are developed.
It is important that policies consider specific resource availability within a state, and encourage the development of the state's natural resources while avoiding the inefficient development of suboptimal resources. Policies, however, should be re-examined periodically, because technological development continually expands the opportunities to economically exploit less-optimal resources. This is especially evident in the wind market where resources that were considered suboptimal less than a decade ago are now economical (due to more efficient wind turbines).