More than half of the electricity produced in the southeastern states is fuelled by coal. Although the region produces some coal, most of the states depend heavily on coal imports. Many of the region's aging coal power facilities are planned for retirement within the next 20 years. However, estimates indicate that a 20% increase in capacity is needed over that time to meet the rapidly growing demand. The most common incentives for energy efficiency in the Southeast are loans and rebates; however, total public spending on energy efficiency is limited. The most common state-level policies to support renewable energy development are personal and corporate tax incentives and loans. The region produced 1.8% of the electricity from renewable resources other than conventional hydroelectricity in 2009, half of the national average. There is significant potential for development of a biomass market in the region, as well as use of local wind, solar, methane-to-energy, small hydro, and combined heat and power resources. Options are offered for expanding and strengthening state-level policies such as decoupling, integrated resource planning, building codes, net metering, and interconnection standards to support further clean energy development. Benefits would include energy security, job creation, insurance against price fluctuations, increased value of marginal lands, and local and global environmental paybacks.
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