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Renewable Energy Atlas of the West: A Guide to the Region's Resource Potential
John Nielson, Susan Innis, Leslie Kaas Pollock, Heather Rhoads-Weaver, and Angela Shutak
Boulder, CO: Law and Water Fund of the Rockies, 2002
80 pp., $35.00 paperback, ISBN 0-9721568-0-1

The Renewable Energy Atlas is a great resource as a book or online to understand and promote clean energy! The book has more that 50 full-color maps that show renewable energy resources - wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass - in 11 western states -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The authors point out that five and the ten fastest growing states in the nation are in the West, so there will be increasing demands for electricity. The renewable energy resources provide clean power that over the long term also could lower electricity costs. Wind and solar resources potentially could produce several times the amount of current electricity consumption in the region. The wind potential in each of three states - Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado - is more than the total electricity consumption of the 11 states combined.

The Atlas has statewide maps of the potential resources in each state. While the maps do not replace the need for on-site investigations, the authors say that "they can help developers gain a better understanding of where the best renewable resource areas are found and screen out the less promising areas." .The maps are the best available, though new high-resolution maps are being developed for some states. Each state section also includes the existing electricity generation mix, a summary of state policies that support renewable energy (tax or rebate programs, "green power," and other programs), a specific renewable energy facility. A regional overview has additional maps including energy production, the western power grid, projected load growth to 2010, transmission constraints, land use, and air emissions of existing fossil fuel plants. A glossary and information sources are included.

The website www.EnergyAtlas.org includes sections of the book that can be downloaded and interactive maps that can be used to zoom in on a particular area and create and print that map. Additional information about renewable is also there.

This very useful project was funded by the Hewlett Foundation and The Energy Foundation and produced and written by the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development, and GreenInfo Network.

-- Don Hancock

Order from:
Land and Water Fund of the Rockies
2260 Baseline Road, Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 4441-1188 x 222

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