Intersections of Disadvantaged Communities and Renewable Energy Potential: Data Set and Analysis to Inform Equitable Investment Prioritization in the United States

Elizabeth Ross, Megan Day, Christiana Ivanova, Akua McLeod, Jane Lockshin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Renewable energy development can bolster local economies through job creation, local tax revenues, and reduced energy costs; however, communities most in need of economic development and employment opportunities often see lower levels of renewable energy deployment. We sought to identify areas where disadvantaged community indicators and high generation potential from cost-effective renewable energy opportunities intersect and deployment could lead to economic development and job creation. Through a geospatial intersection of energy burden, environmental hazard, and sociodemographic data with technical generation potential and the levelized cost of energy for multiple renewable energy technologies, we calculated county-level correlations and identified trends across disadvantaged community indicators and renewable energy deployment potential. Data sources and tools included the Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) tool, the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping (EJSCREEN) tool, the State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) platform, and the Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization (REopt®) model. Metrics include levelized costs and generation potential for utility-scale photovoltaics (PV), rooftop PV (residential and commercial), distributed PV plus storage, land-based wind, geothermal, and hydropower development. This research and the associated county-level data set are intended to inform national- and state-level energy-related assistance programs, economic development efforts, and infrastructure programs seeking to prioritize investments in disadvantaged communities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalRenewable Energy Focus
Volume41
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A50-80683

Keywords

  • community
  • deployment
  • disadvantaged
  • EJSCREEN
  • geothermal
  • hydropower
  • LEAD
  • renewable energy
  • REopt
  • SLOPE
  • solar
  • storage
  • wind

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