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Published on May 25th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Top 10 Clean Energy States (& Bottom 10)

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May 25th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
clean edge clean energy leaders states ranking clean tech

Any “Top 10″ list is going to be a bit ambiguous, unless you’re ranking something that is very simply scored and ranked, like sports teams. Ranking states or countries on cleantech matters, especially cleantech or clean energy as a whole, is a little more difficult. So, I steer away from making such lists. However, if someone else makes one, it’s a fun thing to cover.

Clean Edge recently published its 2nd annual U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index, which includes critical data and analysis on the nation’s cleantech and clean energy landscape. Included in the index is a ranking of the states according to their clean energy leadership. Can you guess the top 10?…

Clean Edge uses 70 indicators related to technology, policy, and capital to come up with its ranking — pretty comprehensive. “Key market indicators tracked by Clean Edge include total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid and electric vehicles on the road, clean-energy venture and patent activity, and policy regulations and incentives.”

According to this year’s findings, the top 10 states are as follows:

  1. California
  2. Oregon
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New York
  5. Colorado
  6. Washington
  7. New Mexico
  8. Minnesota
  9. Connecticut
  10. Vermont

Curious about the bottom 10? Probably not as much, but it’s interesting and potentially useful as well. Here they are:

41. Oklahoma
42. Wyoming
43. Alaska
44. North Dakota
45. Louisiana
46. Nebraska
47. Arkansas
48. Alabama
49. Mississippi
50. West Virginia

Sorry to my friends in West Virginia, but you know that’s the story.

Beyond rankings, here’s some of the key findings of the latest report:

  1. 3 states — Iowa, North Dakota, and California — now generate over “10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and/or geothermal.” Iowa gets 15.4% alone from wind power. North Dakota gets 11.99% from wind. And California gets 10.06% from wind, solar, and geothermal combined.
  2. “Top-ranked California’s longtime commitment to clean energy has put the state far ahead of the pack in terms of technology deployment and capital creation. The state’s burgeoning clean-energy industry brings in more venture capital than all other states combined.”
  3. Idaho leads the nation in the percentage of its total electricity generation that comes from clean sources (in this case, including hydro and biomass). It gets 84% from such sources!
  4. Renewable resources generate of 60% of total electricity in “Washington (71.59 percent), South Dakota (65 percent), and Oregon (63.84 percent)” as well.
  5. “Mississippi, which ranks in the bottom 10 of the overall Leadership Index, is aggressively pursuing clean-tech manufacturing as it aims to garner its share of the clean-tech market. In the past year, the state has attracted a host of clean-tech companies to build manufacturing facilities and plants there, including California-based solar company Stion Solar Panels and Texas-based biofuel company KiOR. This shows that even low-ranking states are beginning to aggressively target clean-tech companies and services for their job creation and capital attraction, and are likely to rise in the ranks.”

For more, including numerous maps and charts, check out the U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index on Clean Edge.

Image Credit: screenshot of U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Barbara Tucker

    Good job – interesting to see the rankings.

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