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:
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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