Top Ten States For Renewable Energy
In the face of a climate change, clean energy is needed now more than ever before. Based on its sheer size and available resources, the United States is in line to become the world leader in renewable energy. As ranked by Olivet Nazarene University's engineering department, here are the top ten states for producing that renewable energy.
Maine is listed in the top spot due to its ability to produce more renewable wind energy than the entirety of New England combined. There are more than two hundred turbines either completed or contracted throughout the state. This brings the total investment for Maine-based projects to over $1 billion. In 2013 alone, the state’s wind turbines generated 431 megawatts of electric capacity, which is enough to provide power to around 61,000 homes for a year’s time.
2. Rhode Island
Rhode Island makes it to the second spot thanks to its ever-growing investment in solar energy. The state’s solar sector increased by 62 percent in 2013, which helped Rhode Island to become the second-lowest producer of carbon among all fifty states. In addition, there is no coal-fired electricity to be found anywhere in the state. Granted, less than four percent of its net electricity generation has its source in renewable energy. However, it is growing rapidly. Rhode Island's renewable energy standard requires its electricity providers to reach a goal of 16 percent by 2019.
The main source of renewable energy in this northwestern state is hydropower. However, it has sufficient geothermal sources to produce electric energy as well. 82 percent of Idaho's total electricity generation came from renewable sources in 2014, enabling it to offer the fifth-lowest average costs in the country to its residents. Hydropower supplied 60 percent of that, making the state the second largest hydroelectricity producer.
In 2014, Delaware generated 82 percent of its electricity from natural gas and 11 percent of it from coal. However, its renewable portfolio standard requires its electric suppliers to create 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2026.
Biomass is Hawaii's main source of renewable energy, followed closely by wind and solar power. It's also one of seven states with a geothermal capacity. In 2014, 19 percent of its renewable electricity generation was sourced from that geothermal energy. The state's utility-scale electricity generation from solar energy also doubled that same year. In addition, it became the first state to set a goal of producing 100 percent renewable electric energy by 2045.
73 percent of Oregon's electricity was generated from hydroelectric and other renewable resources in 2014. Plus its geothermal potential is ranked third in the country, after California and Nevada.
90 percent of the state's energy is imported. However, in 2014, it still ranked second in the United States for its geothermal potential - second for utility-scale net geothermal and third in utility-scale solar electricity generation.
8. South Dakota
South Dakota's location and frequently windy weather conditions make it a prime spot for producing vast amounts of wind power. In fact, 88 percent of its land area is suitable for the development of wind farms. In 2013, the state generated more renewable energy from hydroelectric power than any other source.
Washington produces 30 percent of the nation's hydropower, placing it firmly as the leading hydroelectric producer in the U.S. Its Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River is the largest single producer of hydroelectricity in the country. In addition, the state ranked 10th in the generation of wind energy in 2014.
In 2013, 27 percent of Iowa's energy had its source in renewable wind energy, and it was also third in the nation's production of non-hydroelectric renewable power. Second only to Texas, the state ranks second nationwide in the generation of electricity from wind turbines.
Photo by Thomas Richter