The Outlook for Wind and Solar Deployment: Drivers and Constraints

Wesley Cole, David Young, John Bistline, Trieu Mai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lower investment costs for wind and solar, and expectations for continuing cost declines, have many forecasting high variable renewable deployment in the U.S., even without further policy support. This view is backed up by energy-economic modeling conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), indicating that wind and solar generation could make up more than 50% of U.S. generation before 2050. The pace of deployment will be dictated by economic factors, notably investment costs for new wind and solar, the cost of other forms of generation, and the incentives and costs arising from clean energy policies. However, ongoing deployment will depend on overcoming technological and regulatory hurdles, including the ability to build renewable capacity in locations with good wind or solar resource close to transmission, the buildout of a robust supply chain, and changes to utility operation, planning, and procurement practices to incentive flexible solutions for grid reliability.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
JournalEM: Air and Waste Management Association's Magazine for Environmental Managers
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

EM Magazine is the Air & Waste Management Association's A&WMA's monthly magazine for environmental managers:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5C00-79148


  • capacity expansion
  • PV
  • renewable energy
  • wind


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