Clean Power

Published on March 24th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

3 Ranks Renewable Energy Leaders

March 24th, 2014 by  

Lisanne Boling,

Vermont, Pennsylvania and California ranked as the most friendly to renewable energy according to new rankings from

energy trends’s ranking system takes not only state policies into account but also energy consumption and generation data. Other factors considered include growth of renewable energy, state programs for renewable energy, and other factors. Bonus points are awarded for categories such as grid-connected renewable installations, dynamic pricing for power utility consumers, and integration of electric vehicles.’s unique ranking system considers all energy data on a per-person basis. This commitment allows readers to compare their states’ energy patterns, and establishes a new perspective through this prism. California, for instance, often depicted as the leader in renewable energy, when taken on a per-person basis comes in third in the nation.

Currently Vermont is ranked as the most-friendly state for renewable energy, moving up three places from last year’s results. The Green Mountain state earned a grade of B+, with strong growth in electricity generated from wind and hydroelectric power. Likewise, Pennsylvania saw an increase in its wind and hydroelectric power generation between 2010 and 2011. Pennsylvania’s increase in the use of renewable energy and decline in overall energy consumption moved it from 19th in the country to 2nd for the most friendly to renewable energy according to the 2011 data.

All three leading states ranked low in energy consumed per-person. Vermont ranked 41st, Pennsylvania 32nd and California 47th.

The latest rankings reflect improvement in the use of renewable energy; however, with the leading overall score at 72 it still leaves considerable room for further integration of renewable energy countrywide.

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  • Michael Berndtson

    Interesting stuff. One quibble. Per capita energy consumption is confusing to me. There are many variables that should go into the calculus. Energy Trends website didn’t make it clear. They might have, but I couldn’t find a calculations page.

    For energy consumption by state on a per capita basis would have to take into consideration the following:
    1 – Energy production in total
    2 – Energy consumption in total
    3 – Energy interstate exports
    4 – Energy interstate imports
    5 – State residents versus commuters and/or visitors
    6 – maybe some other things I can’t think of off hand

    For instance my state, Illinois, should be similar to energy use to Indiana on a per capita basis. Indiana is kind of a scale model of Illinois. Indiana is ranked 9th in per capita consumption and Illinois is ranked 27th for the same metric. Both states are agriculture dominated, manufacturing heavy and mixed with urban, exurban and rural population centers. Given this, Illinois would obviously consume more energy in total – but on a per capita basis should be fairly close to Indiana.

    Is this because everyone in Indiana drives Ford F-350 crew cabs with extended beds and duallies and heats their homes to 78 F? This could be the case for North Dakota and Wyoming, two of the highest per capita consumers.

    An important issue to consider is commuters. For instance, is New York State having to take into consideration all the commuters from New Jersey and Connecticut? Also all the business travelers from all over the world? Meaning energy consumed per state per capita would be based on all that energy consumed to heat and cool skyscrapers in Manhattan. And to cook that crappy New York style pizza for tourists and business folks (that was meant to be mean).

    I’m not questioning the data – would just like to see how it’s calculated. Then maybe I’ll question it.

    • Roland

      Well, Michal you should question their calculations. A portion of their ranking is based off the amount of renewable generated electricity. They’ve got those numbers completely wrong if you check them against the Energy Information Administration’s numbers. They’ve got Maine ranked with a grade of D or so. I’d give Maine an A.

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