The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) launched a Google Earth mash-up map earlier this month to show alternative energy installers where they might run into trouble with legal restrictions or endangered wildlife advocates. Now the NRDC has unveiled a more optimistic map that looks at which areas in the U.S. have the most potential for wind, solar, and biomass energy development.
The NRDC's map provides in-depth information on a number of states—Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee—because of their potential for leadership in the renewable energy industry. Florida, for example, has potential as a solar superpower, while Pennsylvania's livestock supply makes it an ideal location for biofuel and biodigester development. According to NRDC Senior Policy Analyst Nathanael Greene, these states "are key battlegrounds in the debate about what sort of action our country should take to stop global warming".
Despite its focus on five states, the Renewable Energy for America map is useful for residents and renewable energy installers in other areas. The NRDC's map provides cursory information about legislation and renewable energy potential in all 50 states. The map should be taken with a grain of salt, though—as the NRDC's Google Earth mash-up from earlier this month proves, legal and social hurdles abound.