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Renewable Energy in the WECC Region

February 1, 2012

Title: Western Region Renewable Energy Markets: Implications for the Bureau of Land Management
Authors: Scott Haase, Lynn Billman, and Rachel Gelman, NREL

The purpose of this analysis is to provide the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with an overview of renewable energy generation markets, transmission planning efforts, and the ongoing role of the BLM renewable energy projects in the electricity markets of the 11 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) that comprise the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) region. This analysis focuses on the status of, and projections for, likely development of non-hydroelectric renewable electricity from solar (including photovoltaic [PV] and concentrating solar power [CSP]), wind, biomass, and geothermal resources in these states. Absent new policy drivers and without the extension of the DOE loan guarantee program and Treasury's 1603 program, state RPS requirements are likely to remain a primary driver for new renewable energy deployment in the western United States. Assuming no additional policy incentives are implemented, projected renewable energy demand for the WECC states by 2020 is 134,000 GWh. Installed capacity to meet that demand will need to be within the range of 28,000-46,000 MW.

—Jim Leyshon