Renewable resources of the northern half of the United States; A pathway to total renewability?

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Conference Title

SOLAR 2018 - 47th National Solar Conference of the American Solar Energy Society

Date of Presentation



We previously presented a model for deep penetration of renewables in the electricity sector of the southern half of the United States (Khoie and Yee, 2015). In this paper, we present a strategy for the northern half of the United States to utilize its available renewable resources to gradually decrease its reliance on fossil fuels in electricity generation and develop energy portfolios with increasing share of renewables. Using the electricity generation data from the U.S. EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2018a), and the renewable resource maps produced by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Geospatial Data Science, 2018), we develop strategies for the states in the northern half of the U.S. We group these states into seven regions: West Coast, Mountain States, Middle West States, Lake States, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and New England states. For each region we determine when and if, the electricity generation from renewables will meet the region's electricity need while accounting for a 1% annual increase in electricity demand. The renewable resources included in our models are solar (photovoltaic), wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal which vary greatly from region to region. We also include nuclear, coal, natural gas, and petroleum.

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