Published on April 23rd, 2012 | by U.S. Energy Information Administration


Renewable Electricity Generation up Considerably in Most US States

April 23rd, 2012 by  


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report
Notes: Non-hydroelectric renewables include generation from wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable sources such as wood and wood wastes, municipal solid wastes, landfill gas, etc. Data for 2011 are preliminary. 

Non-hydroelectric renewable generation has increased in many states over the past decade. In 2011, Maine had the highest percentage of non-hydroelectric renewable generation, at 27% of total in-state generation, up from 20% in 2001 (see maps). South Dakota and Iowa followed, with 21% and 17%, respectively, in 2011, up from 1% and less than one percent in 2001. Wind is the largest driver of this increase across all states.

renewable energy share hydroelectric

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923, Power Plant Operations Report.
Note: Data for 2011 are preliminary.

Including hydropower changes the picture dramatically. Hydroelectric generation is often separated from other renewable generation as it is both larger (on a national basis) and highly variable from year to year. Some states generate considerably more electricity than they consume. In particular, significant excess hydropower generation in the Pacific Northwest flows south to California in the spring. In 2011, the states with the largest shares of generation coming from renewables, including hydro, were: Idaho (93%), Washington (82%), and Oregon (78%). Hydroelectric production was particularly high in 2011 in the Pacific Northwest.

More than half of all states have put in place Renewable Portfolio Standards to promote generation from renewable sources. Federal production tax credits and grants also contributed to increases in renewable capacity and generation between 2001 and 2011. Wind was the fastest growing source of non-hydroelectric renewable generation, as many operators of wind turbines have benefited from these programs. Detailed descriptions of the various State RPS programs (which may not count all non-hydro renewables as eligible) are available from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

EIA recently released preliminary data through December 2011 on generation, fuel consumption, and other statistics from the electric power industry in the Electric Power Monthly and Electricity Monthly Update. A significant share of generation from biomass and solar photovoltaic resources occurs in the end-use industrial, residential, and commercial sectors and is not included in the utility-scale electric power data presented here.

This article was originally published on the website of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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-- the EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

  • Tmac1

    Great news
    I question accuracy of Maine data
    I helped get a 20% renewable energy by 2020 question ballot initiative in Maine in 2011
    Article states we already have 27% of non hydro?
    Methinks they have hydro in there
    Unless they are counting on our moose or lobsters creating some energy
    We got plenty of those????

    • I thought that was off, too. And California seems wrong. I am pretty sure we almost met the 20% by 2010 deadline by coming in at 19%, not the mere15% here. Maybe some ‘sure bet’ projects that were contracted fell through, but 4% difference? I don’t think it was so low.

      • Not sure about that…

        • I am wrong: (I was thinking of in terms of contracts signed) In April 2010: “Even with the last minute scramble, all three utilities are short of their 20% by 2010 RES targets. SDG&E falls farthest short with just 10%, while PG&E has 14% and SCE is the leader with 17% renewable energy. Hydro-electricity does not count as renewable for the California standard.

          There is no shortage of signed contracts for more than enough local renewable power.

          For example, to meet the next target of 33% by 2020, more than that has already been contracted for. California utilities actually have contracts for 50% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030 – with the majority to come from solar in California’s deserts.

          Over 11 GW (11,280 MW) of renewable power for 2010 is still stuck in the approval process. More than half (6,744 MW) has cleared the first hurdles, contracts are signed with utilities and the California Public Utilities Commission has approved them”.
          Source: Clean Technica (

    • This is just electricity, not energy as a whole.

    • Bill_Woods

      “Maine’s net electricity generation is among the lowest in the United States. … Renewable sources, mainly wood and wood waste and hydroelectric, account for almost half of Maine’s net electricity generation. Maine is one of the top U.S. producers of electricity from wood and wood waste. Nonhydroelectric renewable energy sources (including wood and wood waste) account for a larger share of net electricity generation (about one-quarter) in Maine than in any other State.”
      (“Last updated in October 2009.”)

  • Captivation

    At the moment ebay lets me sort auctions by date, price, or proximity. But I would like to be able to sort and select items based on the level of renewable energy in their host state. We need to start pushing for mechanisms by which we can reward people and regions for their foresight in pursuing clean energy.

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