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United States

Official Name:
United States of America

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Government/Ministry
Name:
Erwin Rose
Position:
Foreign Affairs Officer
Phone:
+1 202 647 3934
Emails:
RoseE@state.gov

Energy profile

United States of America

Type: 
Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Today, the U.S. electric grid is a network of approximately 10,000 power plants, 170,000 miles of high-voltage (>230 kV) transmission lines, over six million miles of  lower-voltage distribution lines, and more than 15,000 substations.

Renewable energy potential

SolarThe solar irradiation in the South-Western United States is exceptional, equivalent to that of Africa and Australia, which contain the best solar resources in the world. Much of the United States has solar irradiation as good or better than Spain, considered the best in Europe, and much higher than Germany. The variation in irradiation over the United States is about a factor two, quite homogeneous compared to other renewable resources. The size of the United States adds to its resource, making it a prime opportunity for solar development.GeothermalGeothermal energy is present throughout the entire country, with most of the highest-quality geothermal resources generally located in the western United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. However, all states may have geothermal electricity generation potential through the use of enhanced, or engineered, geothermal systems (EGS) technologyWind EnergyWind is the fastest growing renewable source, but contributes only 1% of total energy used in the U.S. The country's onshore wind resources have the potential to generate almost 10,500 GW of electricity, 175 times more than the current installed capacity of 60 GW. Based on the average U.S. electricity fuel mix, a one MW wind turbine can displace 1,800 tons of CO2 emissions per year. With a wind power capacity of 300 GW, 825 million metric tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually.BiomassU.S. biomass electricity generation potential is highly dependent on how much biomass is available and how much biomass material is dedicated for this specific use. In 2009 an estimated 54,493 GWh of electricity was generated from biomass, which represented approximately 1.2% of total U.S. net electricity generation. According to DOE, approximately 190 million tons of biomass are consumed each year, with roughly 25% to 35% of current biomass consumption being used for electricity generation. DOE analysis and reports indicate that the potential may exist to produce about 1.3 billion tons of biomass annuallyBiogasCorn-based ethanol is the largest source of biofuel in the United States and the world, but the environmental and food supply problems caused by expanding corn cultivation to produce fuel make it ineffective as a strategy to reduce global warming emissions or create additional oil savings.Advanced biofuels made from non-food sources such as perennial grasses, garbage, and waste materials from agriculture and forestry (known as cellulosic biofuels) offer the greatest potential for oil savings and significant global warming emissions reductions with minimal environmental impacts.The United States has the potential to dramatically expand the production of these better biofuels and take a significant step toward cutting U.S. oil consumption in half over the next 20 years. By 2030, the United States could sustainably produce enough non-food biomass resources to generate as much as 54 billion gallons of ethanol each year—four times as much corn ethanol as the United States produced in 2010.HydroHydropower is currently the largest source of renewable electricity production in the United States. In 2010, approximately 257,000 GWh was generated from hydropower resources, equal to roughly 7% of total U.S. electricity generation. A 2007 report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimated that additional hydropower capacity potential was equal to 62.3 GW.

Energy framework

The National Energy Act of 1978 included legislation to promote energy conservation, to shift towards alternative energy sources, to create a market for independent power producers, and to give the FERC greater authority over natural gas markets.  The Energy Policy Act of 1992 further opened electricity markets to competition; encouraged integrated resource planning by utilities; targeted improved energy management in federal agencies; promoted alternative transportation fuels; and required RD&D of technologies to enhance the production and efficient utilisation of renewable, fossil and nuclear energy resources.In 2005, a new comprehensive Energy Policy Act (EPAct 2005) was introduced as the successor to the 1992 Act. This was followed shortly after by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007). Together, these recent legislative packages substantially define the current US federal energy policy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) is also noteworthy for having dramatically funding for many federal energy programmes.Biofuels represent another avenue for improving US energy security and have received strong policy support. Development of vehicles powered by alternative fuels and biofuel production were promoted by the 2005 EPAct, but EISA 2007 brought biofuels to the forefront of US energy security policy. EISA mandated a fivefold increase from previous biofuel use targets by 2022, requiring fuel producers to use a minimum of 136 billion litres (36 billion gallons), up from 34 billion litres (9 billion gallons) in 2008. To meet environmental objectives, from 2016, new biofuel production towards the mandated target is to be derived from cellulosic or other advanced biofuels that reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50%. Most of the new biofuel is to be produced domestically, and the target includes provisions to reduce the required volumes if costs are judged too high or supplies are inadequate. The Recovery Act sought to advance the commercialisation of electric vehicles by investing in facilities that manufacture batteries and other electric vehicle components. The government invested more than USD 2 billion in nearly 50 different electric vehicle and component manufacturing projects. Electric vehicles offer energy security benefits by shifting transportation energy demand from oil to electricity.Climate Action PlanIn June 2013, the United States announced its Climate Action Plan for steady, responsible national and international action to cut GHG emissions, based on three pillars: (i) cut carbon pollution in the United States; (ii) prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change; and (iii) lead international efforts to combat global climate change and prepare for its impacts. Each pillar in the plan consists of a wide variety of executive actions the president can take. The key mitigation elements are numerous:to cut CO2 pollution from coal-fired power plants by directing the US Environmental Protection Agency to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;to unlock long-term investment in clean energy innovation by making up to USD 8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced energy projects that use fossil fuels;to accelerate clean energy permitting by: directing the US Department of the Interior to permit 10 GW of renewables on public lands by 2020; setting a goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables in federally assisted housing by 2020; and deploying 3 GW of renewables in military installations;to expand the federal government’s Better Building Challenge to focus on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings become at least 20% more energy efficient by 2020;to reduce CO2 pollution by at least 3 billion metric tonnes cumulatively by 2030 through efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings;to increase fuel economy standards by developing post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles;to leverage new opportunities to reduce pollution of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), direct agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy and commit to protect forests and critical landscapes.Energy Star (trademarked ENERGY STAR) is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the United States of America. It was created in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Since then, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have adopted the program. Devices carrying the Energy Star service mark, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20–30% less energy than required by federal standards. In the United States, the Energy Star label is also shown on EnergyGuide appliance label of qualifying products.On the Renewable Portfolio Standard and investement tax credit, please see the below section on regulatory framework

Source
Static Source:
  • Hydrological Zoning

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:
    Sectors:

    Hydrological zoning (or simply zoning) is an approach to divide land into different zones based on their hydrological properties. Typically, each type of zone has different land use and development regulations linked to it. This land and water management method aims to protect local water sources from risks of over-abstraction, land salinization, groundwater pollution and waterlogging by managing land use activities based on the assigned hydrological zones.  For example, zones with a high groundwater table, large amounts of surface water (e.g.

  • HabitatSeven Inc.

    Type: 
    Organisation
    Country of registration:
    Canada
    Relation to CTCN:
    Network Member

    HabitatSeven is a design and technology development agency specializing in producing digital communication tools, websites and data driven applications for climate science and climate policy based organizations. Their team combines graduate level experts in the area of climate change with top designers and developers. HabitatSeven has built award winning, open-source delivery mechanisms, visualization engines and data services specifically focused on delivering climate data.          

  • Tambourine Innovation Ventures Inc.

    Type: 
    Organisation
    Country of registration:
    United States
    Relation to CTCN:
    Network Member

    Incorporated in 2015, Tambourine Innovation Ventures (TIV) is an innovation advisory and venture development firm that provides a full suite of services and solutions to the challenges and needs generated by the increasing interest and activity globally in the areas of climate change adaptation/mitigation, innovation, technology transfer and venture finance. TIV founders and consultants bring more than three decades of experience in assisting the developing countries access innovative technologies from the industrialized countries and grow technology ventures.

  • Energy Efficiency (Policies and Measures Database)

    Type: 
    Publication
    Objective:

    The Energy Efficiency Policies and Measures database provides information on policies and measures taken or planned to improve energy efficiency. The database further supports the IEA G8 Gleneagles Plan of Action mandate to “share best practice between participating governments”, and the agreement by IEA Energy Ministers in 2009 to promote energy efficiency and close policy gaps.

  • ClearPath

    Type: 
    Publication
    Objective:

    ClearPath is a cloud based-tool for energy and emission management. It can forecast multiple scenarios for future emissions, analyse the costs and benefits of emissions reduction measures, visualize alternative planning scenarios etc.

  • Green Resources & Energy Analysis Tool (GREAT)

    Type: 
    Publication
    Objective:

    The GREAT Tool for Cities is an integrated bottom-up, energy end-use based modelling and accounting tool for tracking energy consumption, production and resource extraction in all economic sectors on a city, provincial or regional level. The model uses the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP) software developed by the Stockholm Environmental Institute and includes a national average dataset on energy input parameters for residential, commercial, transport, industry and agriculture end-use sectors.

  • Commercial Building Analysis Tool for Energy-Efficient Retrofits (COMBAT)

    Type: 
    Publication
    Objective:

    The Commercial Building Analysis Tool for Energy-Efficiency Retrofit (COMBAT) is created to facilitate policy makers, facility managers, and building retrofit practitioners to estimate commercial (public) buildings retrofit energy saving, cost and payback period. Common commercial building models area created, and the retrofit measures and their effects are pre-computed by EnergyPlus by taking different building types and measures interactions into account.

  • Local Energy Efficiency Policy Calculator (LEEP-C)

    Type: 
    Publication
    Publication date:
    Objective:

    The tool provides the opportunity to analyse the impacts of 23 different policy types from 4 energy-using sectors:

    1. public buildings,
    2. commercial buildings,
    3. residential buildings, and
    4. transportation.

    Impacts of policy choices are analysed in terms of energy savings, cost savings, pollution reduction, and other outcomes over a time period set by the user. The tool also allows for assigning the weights to different policy options based on community priorities in order to tailor policy development process to community goals.

  • Institut International de l'Écologie Industrielle et de l'Économie Verte

    Type: 
    Organisation
    Country of registration:
    Switzerland
    Relation to CTCN:
    Network Member

    The Institut International de l'Écologie Industrielle et de l'Économie Verte is an establishment of reflection, research and practice of industrial ecology. The Institute has an engineering division and an expertise cluster, which enables the Institute to identify new technologies linked to industrial ecology and to advise through a specific methodology adapted to local contexts. The project managers work on the practical execution of mandates and on the implementation of the industrial ecology with a particular attention to Switzerland and developing countries.