Energizing Appalachia: Global Challenges and the Prospect of a Renewable Future

Author(s): Amy Glasmeier, Ron Feingold, Amanda Guers, Gillian Hay, Teresa Lawler, Alissa Meyer, Ratchan Sangpenchan, Matthew Stern, Wesley Stroh, Polycarp Tam, Ricardo Torres, Romare Truly, and Amy Welch
Author Organization(s): Pennsylvania State University Department of Geography

This report investigates the status and behavior of the wind, solar and biomass industries in order to better understand how domestically based manufacturers might best engage this sector. It was revealed that significant consolidation has occurred in the wind industry and is beginning to occur in the solar industry. It is becoming increasingly difficult for small companies to gain a foothold and secure adequate market share in both of these industries. However, the growing demand for these resources has opened up opportunities for the manufacturers of equipment in the supply chain of the finished products to emerge.

To understand what opportunities exist for Appalachia to engage the renewable energy sector, this report analyzed the region’s potential capacity to manufacture components for the wind, solar and biomass industries. This was accomplished by a comprehensive review of North American Industry Classification System codes and 2002 County Business Pattern Data collected by Bureau of the Census.