New Atlas Maps Renewable Energy

Screenshot of the Renewable Energy Atlas showing alternative energy sources.

Screenshot of the Renewable Energy Atlas.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a Renewable Energy (RE) Atlas which maps potential resources in an interactive and user-friendly way.

The geospatial application maps out different types of renewable energy locations available within the U.S., including solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biodiesel areas. The map also differentiates within each renewable energy sector. For example, it provides different indications for photovoltaic resource locations, the type of power used in solar panels, and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which is able to harness solar power throughout the day and store it for use at night.

Dan Getman, whose team in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center developed the tool, stated, “Ease of use and breadth of data make RE Atlas an excellent tool for policymakers, planners, energy developers, and others who need to better understand the renewable resources available in the United States.”

The ultimate purpose of the RE Atlas is to aid with developing energy policy, promoting education, and investment in renewable energies, according to DOE officials. By making all renewable energy databases easy to access through a one-step interactive map, more users are able to benefit from the potential of renewable energy in the US.

The RE Atlas also includes a layover of contaminated lands, such as brownfields and abandoned mines, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is an important feature of the map, as the Obama Administration has decided on reclaiming these sites to transform them into alternative energy production areas under the Re-Powering American’s Land Initiative.

The Atlas also helps contrast with the currently proposed Keystone XL Pipeline that would cut across the Midwest and provide petroleum for export, showing alternative, greener energy resources.

To access the Atlas, see