Amid the debates on Capitol Hill regarding climate change and the growing interest in renewable energy, PJM Interconnection is launching a one-stop resource to better understand renewable energy resources on the PJM power grid.

The Renewable Energy Dashboard at green.pjm.com illustrates a user-friendly snapshot of the amount and type of generation that currently provides power to the 51 million people in the PJM region. The dashboard also features a map indicating where proposed renewable energy projects are planned and a summary of how much electricity has been produced by renewable sources since 2005.

"Policy makers are facing big decisions and making aggressive goals to address climate change issues and integrating more renewable energy into the nation's energy portfolio," said Terry Boston, PJM president and CEO. "We want to help inform the debate and give consumers a better understanding of renewable power in the PJM region."

Wind generation accounts for nearly half of the approximately 100,000 MW of new electricity proposed to be built in PJM, according to the dashboard. In addition, biomass -- a relatively new renewable energy resource to the grid -- joins proposed solar photovoltaic, captured methane, hydro, wood and others considered as renewable sources in the planning process. The amount of renewable energy proposed changes throughout the year as new projects are added and some are withdrawn from the process.

The dashboard reflects PJM's on-going commitment to examine energy-related issues and provide information as it relates to the power grid and wholesale power market to help inform public policy discussions. A report on "Potential Effects of Proposed Climate Change Policies on PJM's Energy Market," released earlier this year by PJM , discusses different scenarios according to proposed guidelines for dealing with carbon dioxide emissions.

PJM continues to study the impact of climate change legislation, as well as the challenges to integrating a large influx of renewable energy onto the power grid.

"If you like renewable energy, you have to love transmission," Boston said. He said that industry studies and PJM's planning process indicate that integrating renewable generation onto the grid will require a significant amount of new transmission projects to be developed. Transmission will be needed to move the wind energy from the areas where it is produced to the population that needs it.

Still, according to Boston, it's the wholesale power market that recognizes the value of renewable energy and facilitates its development. "The grid may be where it grows, but the market is where it starts," he said.

The information for the dashboard was gathered in large part from the Generation Attribute Tracking System (GATS), a system developed by PJM affiliate, PJM-EIS. Many states in the country, and most in PJM, have developed target goals for renewable energy, or renewable portfolio standards (RPS). The states within PJM track the amount of renewable generation they produce or buy through the GATS. The GATS, which began tracking renewable energy production in 2005, produces a certificate for each megawatt-hour of renewable power produced. The certificate can be traded with other states to meet RPS requirements.