Under the Reference or "business as usual" scenario, investment in renewable electricity generation will be $1.2 trillion. This compares to $7.2 trillion in the advanced Energy [R]evolution scenario. How investment is divided between the different renewable power generation technologies depends on their level of technical development and regionally available resources.
Technologies such as wind power, which in many regions is already cost competitive with existing power plants, will take a larger investment volume and a bigger market share. The market volume attributed to different technologies also depends on local resources and policy frameworks within the U.S. states. Figure 6.12 provides an overview of the investment required for each technology. For solar photovoltaic, the primary market will remain in southern states and sunny states like California for years to come, but should soon expand to other U.S. states. Because solar photovoltaic energy is a highly modular and decentralized technology that can be used almost anywhere, its market will eventually spread across the entire U.S. Solar photovoltaic is expected to reach grid parity (generation costs on the same level as consumer electricity prices) by 2012 to 2015.
Concentrated solar power systems, on the other hand, can only be operated in U.S. states with more than 2000 hours of direct sunlight. The main investment in this technology will therefore take place in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The main development of the wind industry will take place especially in coastal areas, but also areas further inland such as Texas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Offshore wind technology will take a larger share from around 2015 onwards. The main offshore wind development will take place around the Atlantic coast. Bio energy power plants will be distributed across the U.S., as there is potential almost everywhere for biomass and/or biogas (cogeneration) power plants.