50 States of Electricity: Where America’s Power Comes From

In energy, one size doesn’t fit all

October 2021

Script

This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.

 

It’s 10:00 p.m. Do you know what’s keeping your lights on?

Because of differences in politics, economics, and natural resources, the 50 states rely on wildly different sources for electricity.

The states that use the most of each energy source?

West Virginia’s abundant coal provides 88% of the state’s electricity.i

59% of New Hampshire’s power comes from a single nuclear plant.ii

Thanks to the mighty Columbia River, Washington gets 2/3 of its energy from hydroelectricity.iii

Delaware gets 95% of its electricity from natural gas, despite the fact that it doesn’t produce any.iv

(It all comes through a pipeline from Pennsylvania.)v

Iowa gets 57% of its energy from the wind sweepin’ down the plains.vi

Hawaii is short on power sources, so it gets 2/3 of its energy from imported petroleum, giving it the highest electricity costs in the nation.vii

Some energy sources don’t provide much power anywhere.

Maine uses more biomass than any other state, but it meets less than 1/4 of the state’s energy needs.viii

It has to import almost 30% of its electricity from Canada.ix

California leads the nation in solar power, but only gets 15% of its electricity from the sun.x

The Golden State also has to import more electricity from outside its borders than any other state.xi

So, the next time you hear about plans for energy reform, remember: one size definitely doesn’t fit all.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Because of differences in politics, economics, and natural resources, the 50 states rely on wildly different sources for electricity.
  2. Coal in West Virginia, wind in Iowa, and hydroelectricity in Washington are all examples of states whose electricity sources are shaped by natural resources.
  3. Some electricity sources, like biomass and solar, don’t provide much power even in the states that use the most of them.

Sources

  1. "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" — Nuclear Energy Institute 
  2. "New Hampshire State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration
  3. "Washington State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration
  4. "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" — Nuclear Energy Institute
  5. "Delaware State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration
  6. "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" — Nuclear Energy Institute
  7. "Hawaii State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration
  8. "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" — Nuclear Energy Institute 
  9. "Maine State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration
  10. "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" — Nuclear Energy Institute 
  11. "California State Profile and Energy Estimates" — U.S. Energy Information Administration

Shownotes

SOUND: “Neva That” (Dorian Childs)

FOOTAGE: Mick Truyts, Hunter So, Dan Meyers, Ksenia Kudelkina, Abby Anaday, Alexander Schimmeck, Andreas Gücklhorn, American Public Power Association (Unsplash) / Spooh (Getty)

CITED SOURCES AND NEWS OUTLETS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH THIS PRODUCTION.

Sources

  1. Nuclear Energy Institute
    "State Electricity Generation Fuel Shares" 
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "New Hampshire State Profile and Energy Estimates" 
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "Washington State Profile and Energy Estimates" 
  4. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "Delaware State Profile and Energy Estimates" 
  5. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "Hawaii State Profile and Energy Estimates"
  6. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "Maine State Profile and Energy Estimates" 
  7. U.S. Energy Information Administration
    "California State Profile and Energy Estimates"

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