Driven primarily by the federal production tax credit (PTC) and state-level renewable portfolio standards, U.S. wind capacity is expected to increase from 4.7 gigawatts (GW) today to 36 GW by 2015, according to a forthcoming research report by Platts Research & Consulting (PR&C). Platts is the energy information, research, consulting and media and marketing services unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.Boulder, Colorado – June 6, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Federal and state policies designed to encourage the use of renewable energy sources will result in the addition of nearly 31 GW of wind resources to the U.S. grid,” according to Brandon Owens, report co-author and analysis director for PR&C’s Renewable Power Service. “Renewable Power Outlook 2003,” finds that geothermal and solar energy technologies will also see increased market penetration. U.S. geothermal capacity is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent per year, increasing from 2.8 GW today to just over 5 GW by 2015. After a decade of dormancy, the large-scale concentrating solar power market is poised to double with a 50 MW plant on the drawing board in Nevada, and at least another 350 MW plant expected to come on-line by the end of the decade. Solar photovoltaic systems will realize a steady annual average growth rate of 15 percent per year, according to the report, while landfill gas to electricity projects are expected to increase at a modest rate throughout the forecast period. Even though total renewable energy capacity is projected to grow by 8 percent per year through 2015, renewables are still expected to account for less than 5 percent of U.S. electricity generation throughout the forecast period. “Renewables will still account for only small share of the total U.S. power market, but they will play an increasingly important role in diversifying the nation’s electricity supply portfolio,” according to PR&C power consultant and study co-author Jack Ihle. The research report will be released in early July. It presents renewable power capacity and generation projections on a state-by-state and technology-by-technology basis through 2015. “To truly understand renewable energy markets you’ve got to combine traditional energy economic modeling approaches with a thorough analysis of the key technology drivers in every market,” according to Owens. “Renewables technologies and markets are unique — and economics is only one piece of the puzzle — so regional integrated modeling alone doesn’t provide much insight.” For more information on “Renewable Power Outlook 2003” and PR&C’s Renewable Power Service, visit the company’s link below.