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Siting Renewable Energy Facilities: A Spatial Analysis of Promises and Pitfalls

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  • Vajjhala, Shalini

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

Recent efforts to site renewable energy projects have provoked as much, if not more, opposition than conventional energy projects. Because renewable energy resources are often located in sensitive and isolated environments, such as pristine mountain ranges or coastal waters, siting these facilities is especially difficult. Moreover, the viability of different renewable energy projects depends not only on complex economic and environmental factors, but also on the availability of supporting infrastructures, such as transmission lines. This paper examines the spatial relationships between four types of renewable energy resources – wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass – and an empirical measure of state-level transmission-line siting difficulty. Analyses explore the locations of renewable resource potential relative to areas of high siting difficulty, state electricity demand and imports, and states with renewable portfolio standards (RPSs). Major results reveal that state resource potential varies, and siting is significantly more difficult in states that import electricity and those with RPSs. These results suggest that states with the greatest incentives to develop renewable energy also face the most serious obstacles to siting new facilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Vajjhala, Shalini, 2006. "Siting Renewable Energy Facilities: A Spatial Analysis of Promises and Pitfalls," Discussion Papers dp-06-34, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-34
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-06-34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Darmstadter, Joel & McVeigh, James, 1999. "Winner, Loser, or Innocent Victim? Has Renewable Energy Performed As Expected?," Discussion Papers dp-99-28, Resources For the Future.
    2. Berry, David, 2002. "The market for tradable renewable energy credits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 369-379, September.
    3. Kahn, Robert D., 2000. "Siting Struggles: The Unique Challenge of Permitting Renewable Energy Power Plants," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 21-33, March.
    4. Bolinger, Mark & Wiser, Ryan & Milford, Lew & Stoddard, Michael & Porter, Kevin, 2001. "States Emerge as Clean Energy Investors: A Review of State Support for Renewable Energy," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 82-95, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lewis, Geoffrey McD., 2008. "High value wind: A method to explore the relationship between wind speed and electricity locational marginal price," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1843-1853.
    2. Lewis, Geoffrey McD., 2010. "Estimating the value of wind energy using electricity locational marginal price," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3221-3231, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    siting; renewable energy; transmission lines; wind; solar; geothermal; biomass; geographic information systems (GIS); renewable portfolio standards (RPS);

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L98 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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