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Biomass renewable energy USA chart 4

Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Renewable Electricity By State — 5 Awesome Charts

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April 3rd, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
Bernard Chabot and Renewables International have published an excellent short report on renewable electricity production in the United States in 2012 and 2013. I recommend checking out the full report (thanks to a reader for passing it along), but for those of you who aren’t into digging into full reports, I’m sharing 5 awesome charts from that report here, as well as some thoughts of my own. Have a look:

renewable electrcity consumption USA chart 5

renewable energy USA chart 0

renewable energy USA chart 4

renewable electricity USA chart

renewable electricity percentage US states

Yeah, you can see much larger versions of those charts, as well as more, in the full report.

There are many interesting things to note regarding each of these states and each of these charts, but the most interesting point (imho) is one that I’ve made many times: while California and Texas get the most attention for their renewable energy growth and development, it is actually other states that lead in relative terms.

In terms of renewable electricity production per capita (3rd chart), North Dakota, Wyoming, and Iowa crush it. Maine, Kansas, South Dakota, and Oklahoma form the next clear tier. Texas comes in at #13, while California comes in at #22. That’s hardly “leadership.” Of course, part of the matter is resources, but not only.

If you look at renewable electricity production as a percentage of total electricity production (chart #5), Idaho, Washington, Oregon, South Dakota, and Maine take the top spots. California comes in at a much better #7 — in the top 10 at least — and Texas drops to #24. If you look only at non-hydro renewables, the rankings change again, but it looks like California still comes in at #7 and Texas is far down the list again.

Relativity is important if we’re going to be giving out accolades and medals to states. Men and women don’t compete against each other in speed skating or the long jump. In boxing, there are different weight categories. Next time we talk about renewable energy leaders on the state level, perhaps we should highlight Maine, Iowa, South Dakota, Idaho, Minnesota, and Kansas rather than California and Texas.

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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.

  • Robert Howd

    Very nice summary in the charts! Thanks!

  • Matt

    Interesting is that in 2013 PV is only 0.25% of total 2012 electric production (I think that is how you read chart 1). 0.25% and already coal is spending billions to do whatever it can to stop it. Coal people, there is nothing to fear, go back to sleep. Oh wait maybe they are looking over seas and can see the writing on the wall. But looks like the 30% tax deduction, instead of changing to 10% in 2017 should change to 30% cash rebate until at least 2020.

  • mikgigs

    so, my conclusion is….use nuclear!

    • Bob_Wallace

      As my wife sometimes says – “Thank you for your stupid opinion”.

  • Will E

    What I like about this , is the competition involved.
    Make renewable production an interstate competition,
    with nationwide tv, internet hosts and
    green Oscar for the winner with a big real big prize paid in Solar panels. and talk about the money maid by renewable energy. billions of dollars made by renewables, local, in the US. I like the charts but add a money chart. money talks.

    • Zachary Shahan

      Hmm, money chart would be good.

      As well as more hype about the competition. That’s certainly the American way.

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