Eleven US states now get over half their electricity from renewables

Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

Eleven US states — including the largest by economic output, California — now generate enough renewable energy each year to cover at least 50% of their power requirements, according to data collated by Stanford University Professor Mark Z. Jacobson.

South Dakota leads the way, with renewable power output equivalent to 96.9% of the state’s consumption in the 12 months to end-September 2023. Wind alone accounted for 69.7% of the mix.

Iowa ranked second, at 81.4% renewables — almost entirely wind — followed by Montana (80.5% renewables), Washington State (79%), Kansas (65.1%), New Mexico (64.6%), Oregon (64.5%), Wyoming (59.5%), North Dakota (57.9%), Oklahoma (56.5%), and California (50.9%), per Jacobson’s analysis.

California has, by far, the largest share of solar in the mix. Grid-scale solar PV and concentrated solar plants covered 16.6% of the state’s electricity needs over the 12-month period, and rooftop solar another 11.3%. Those systems are backed by 7GW of storage capacity.

The Golden State has above-average retail electricity tariffs — partly because wildfire costs are passed along to consumers — but every other state on the 50%-plus renewables list has power prices well below the US average, according to statistics from the Energy Information Administration.

As of October 2023, North Dakota has the lowest electricity prices in the US, followed by Wyoming and Iowa.

The road ahead: According to a recent analysis by the department of energy, solar and wind farms will generate more electricity than the country’s coal-fired power plants for the first time this year.

In calendar year 2024, fossil gas will likely hold a 42% share of the electricity mix, followed by renewables at 24%, nuclear at 19%, and coal at 15%, the department says.

The US government plans to get to 80% renewable-based electricity by 2030, and a 100% carbon-free power system by 2035.


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2 Responses

  1. The renewable energy statistics are stunning—quite contrasting to record US and Global Oil & Gas production.

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