Renewable energy sources are already recognized for their potential to help develop our energy security, improve environmental conditions and public health, and control consumer energy costs.Lexington, Kentucky – June 23, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The possibility that, in addition to these indirect benefits, renewable energy sources could help spur economic development in certain areas of the United States provides an interesting and valuable option to state policy-makers. A new report from the Council of State Governments (CSG) examines the potential benefits of renewable energy development for state economies and will be a valuable asset to state decision-makers as they consider the future of their states’ energy sectors, said the CSG. Fueled by the sun, wind, water, plant and other organic matter, the Earth’s heat and, in the case of hydrogen, a naturally occurring element, these inexhaustible resources are converted through the use of renewable energy technologies into usable forms of energy. Those currently with the most potential to benefit states include biomass, geothermal, hydrogen, solar and wind energy. Born out of a confluence of economic, environmental and political events in the 1970s, recent technological developments have made renewable energy sources more affordable. Therefore, since all states have some form of developable renewable resources, there are several reasons states should consider using renewable energy. These include its potential to do the following: – stimulate local economies and create jobs; – increase local and state tax revenue bases; – provide environmental and public health benefits; – allow states to better control consumer energy costs; – reduce dependence on foreign oil; – enhance domestic energy security and increase generation reliability. As a percentage of total U.S. electricity generation, only about 2 percent comes from renewable sources when hydroelectric power is excluded. However, recent trends indicate that renewable energy development in the states is growing. States have a variety of policy options available when considering how to spur renewable energy development. Several states have instituted a range of initiatives and legislative changes to promote renewable energy development in order to capture the wide range of potential benefits. Of these potential benefits, the direct economic incentives of stimulating local economies, job creation and increased revenue generation have helped fuel states’ interest in renewables. More info on the report can be obtained at the link below.