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State-Specific Findings on Clean Energy Potential in U.S. Southeast

NREL's  Southeast Regional Clean Energy Policy Analysis presents key findings about the clean energy potential in the following states:

Alabama

  • Produced 51% of its electricity from coal in 2008, nearly 80% of which was imported at a net cost of $1.39 billion
  • Had the highest increase in residential per capita energy consumption between 1997-2006
  • Has not yet adopted standard international commercial and residential building codes
  • Leads the southeastern region in terms of total renewable energy capacity due to its hydroelectric facilities
  • Has good potential to increase clean energy generation, given optimum conditions for growth of short-rotation woody biomass crops and significant solid biomass residues that can be used for electricity generation

Arkansas

  • Produced 47% of its electricity from coal in 2008, all of which was imported at a net cost of $46 million.
  • Has good wind energy potential
  • Has the greatest potential for generating electricity from solid biomass residues and methane emissions

Georgia

  • Produced 63% of its electricity from coal in 2008, 63% of which was imported from as far away as Wyoming and South America, at a net cost of $2.6 billion
  • Leads the region in non-hydroelectric renewable energy generation, due to its biomass development
  • Has significant potential for further biomass development, given the state's optimal conditions for the growth of short-rotation woody crops and significant solid biomass residues
  • Has a wide variety of other renewable resources, including good offshore wind energy potential and some of the best solar resources in the Southeast

Kentucky

  • Only net exporter of coal in the southeastern region
  • Has one of the highest residential per capita electricity use despite having adopted the international standard residential and commercial building codes
  • Could increase efficiency by improving on integrated resource planning and decoupling policies
  • Has the potential to develop its clean energy by utilizing its solar and small hydroelectric resources, as well as an excellent opportunity to generate electricity from solid biomass residues and dedicated energy crops

Louisiana

  • Generates nearly half of its electricity from natural gas
  • Compared to neighboring states in the Southeast, had the slowest growth in residential energy consumption between 1997-2006 despite the fact investor-owned utility spending for energy efficiency programs are currently some of the lowest
  • Adopted international standard building codes
  • Has opportunities for further lowering energy consumption through integrated resource planning and separating utility sales from revenues

Mississippi

  • Has relatively high per capita electricity consumption
  • Has not yet adopted standard international residential and commercial building codes.
  • Although limited in many renewable resources, has significant potential to generate electricity from solid biomass residues, including forest and crop residues, which are densely concentrated along the Mississippi River

Missouri

  • Produced 81% of its electricity in 2008 from coal, 99% of which was imported at a net cost of $1.13 billion
  • Leads the southeastern region in wind energy development, enjoying the best onshore wind resources in the southeastern region
  • Has a wide variety of other clean energy resources, including solar, small hydroelectric, combined heat and power, and solid biomass residue
  • Implemented a renewable portfolio standard to encourage the continued development of clean energy
  • Has opportunities to adopt standard international commercial and residential building codes

North Carolina

  • Produced 61% of its electricity in 2008 from coal, all of which was importedRanks second in the nation for net coal expenditures at a cost of $2.35 billion
  • Ranks as one of the country's top nuclear energy producers
  • Making efforts to increase its clean energy consumption, having implemented one of the Southeast's  only renewable portfolio standards
  • Leads the southeastern region in solar energy development
  • Could generate more clean energy from offshore wind resources, combined heat and power, the use of solid biomass residues, as well as take advantage of optimal conditions for growing short-rotation woody biomass crops.

South Carolina

  • Produced 41% of its electricity in 2008 from coal, all of which was imported from as far away as Wyoming and Columbia, at a net cost of $1.1 billion
  • Generates nearly half of its electricity from nuclear power facilities
  • Has a variety of renewable resources, including good offshore wind energy potential, a significant concentration of biomass residues, and optimal conditions for the growth of short-rotation woody biomass crops

Tennessee

  • Produced 62% of its electricity in 2008 from coal, 99% which was imported at a net cost of $1.21 billion
  • Ranks as one of the nation's top hydroelectricity producers
  • Has a variety of renewable resources, including solar and small hydroelectric potential, opportunities to develop combined heat and power, and solid biomass residues
  • Enjoys optimal growing conditions from short-rotation, dedicated energy crops

More Information

For more information, see the full report, Southeast Regional Clean Energy Policy Analysis.