Despite Economic Conditions, State Clean Energy Funds Installed More Projects in 2011 than Ever Before

Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) released a comprehensive analysis of trends in state clean energy development, titled The Rising Tide of State-Supported Renewable Energy Projects: Results from the CESA Database, 1998-2011. Among its main findings, the report confirms that state clean energy funds have remained major drivers of renewable energy development in the U.S., funding nearly 130,000 projects and adding nearly 4.8 new gigawatts of clean power to the grid since 1998.

“Despite the economic climate, state clean energy funds have continued to demonstrate innovation, support emerging technologies, and advance clean energy markets,” said Mark Sinclair, Executive Director of Clean Energy States Alliance. “The better news is that, after 13 years of data collection, we feel confident that these industry trends are here to stay.”

The report draws from the CESA National Renewable Energy Database, an ongoing effort to collect and maintain key metrics on investment in renewable energy projects in states that are members of CESA. The CESA Database is designed to centralize information from across the country, to simplify state clean energy program reporting and administration, and to make it easier to track important market measures, such as installed cost and funding leverage, across projects and technologies and over time. For more information about CESA members and to download the report, see www.cleanenergystates.org.

Key findings from this year’s CESA Database report include:

  • 2011 saw the most state-funded clean energy projects installed in a single year. State clean energy funds supported 32,734 clean energy projects in 2011, an 18 percent increase over 2010 and almost twice the number of projects installed in 2009.
  •  Since 1998, states have invested $3.4 billion in public funds in renewable energy projects and successfully leveraged an additional $12.5 billion. Total investment over this period was $15.9 billion.
  • Projects supported by state clean energy funds are avoiding significant CO2 emissions. Since 1998, state funds have supported the installation of almost 4.8 gigawatts of clean energy generation capacity. Each year, these projects generate almost 10.7 million megawatt hours of energy and avoid 8.1 million tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking about 1.4 million cars off the road.

The new report comes at an opportune time, as CESA recently recognized seven exemplary state clean energy programs with its State Leadership in Clean Energy (SLICE) Awards. These seven programs, which range across a variety of clean energy technologies, illustrate and reaffirm the trends described in the CESA Database analysis:

• The University of California, San Diego Microgrid and Synchrophasor Research and Development Program, both of the California Energy Commission;

• The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority’s Connecticut Solar Lease Program;

• The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Pilot Program;

• The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission’s Residential Wood-Pellet Boiler Rebate Program;

• The Clean Energy Business Incubator Program and On-Site Wind Market Development Program, both from the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority.

CESA has released a comprehensive report, “State Leadership in Clean Energy: Seven Exemplary Programs,” which is available for free on this website under Publications. CESA is hosting several free webinars on these award winning programs click on Events.

About Clean Energy States Alliance: Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) is the only national nonprofit organization representing the collective voice of public clean energy funds. CESA provides information sharing, technical assistance services, and a collaborative network by coordinating multi-state efforts, leveraging funding for projects and research, and assisting clean energy programs with program development and evaluation. For more information, visit www.cleanenergystates.org.