Renewable power sources – including hydrokinetic (which includes pumped storage), biomass, waste, geothermal, wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), and solar thermal – make up 10 percent of total electricity production in the United States. While news headlines in this election year have highlighted failures by renewable energy companies, such as the solar panel maker Solyndra, North America leads the world in terms of additions of new renewable energy capacity. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, North America will add more than 400,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity from 2012 through 2015, making it the leading region in the world for new renewable energy.
“State governments in the United States are pushing utilities to purchase more renewable energy, thus encouraging the market for renewables artificially,” says research director Kerry-Ann Adamson. “Although North America today is heavily reliant on the biofuel and biopower sectors for revenue and new installations in the smart energy sector, there are a number of exciting underlying growth areas that could create a more sustainable, high value, high growth smart energy sector in North America.”
Although second to the United States in terms of capacity additions, Europe will be the largest region in terms of smart energy revenue, totalling more than $500 billion through 2015. The fastest growing region, however, is Asia Pacific, according to the report. If its current development trajectory holds, Asia Pacific by 2015 could challenge North America in terms of its global leadership position in annual capacity additions.