Special Report

This Is How Much Renewable Energy Your State Produces

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10. Kansas
> Electricity from renewables: 41.7% of total (21.2 million MWh)
> Largest renewable energy source: Wind (21.1 million MWh)
> Largest non-renewable energy source: Coal (17.3 million MWh)
> 10-yr. change in share of renewable energy: +35.5 ppt. (2nd highest)

Electricity production from renewable sources has surged in Kansas over the last decade. As recently as 2009, just 6.2% of electricity produced in the state came from renewable sources. As of 2019, the state was one of only 10 nationwide where over 40% of electricity production was from renewable sources.

As is often the case in Great Plains states, Kansas’s largest renewable power source is wind. The state has nearly 3,200 wind turbines, which generate 41.5% of its electricity, a larger share than in every other state except Iowa. After wind, the second largest source of electricity in the state is coal. Coal, a carbon-producing, non-renewable resource generates about one-third of the state’s electricity. Though the state does have coal reserves, its last coal mine was shuttered in 2016, and most of the coal now used to generate electricity is shipped in from Wyoming.

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9. Iowa
> Electricity from renewables: 43.6% of total (27.3 million MWh)
> Largest renewable energy source: Wind (26.3 million MWh)
> Largest non-renewable energy source: Coal (22.2 million MWh)
> 10-yr. change in share of renewable energy: +27.1 ppt. (5th highest)

Many states in the Midwest have power grids that rely heavily on wind turbines — but none as much as Iowa. Of the 62.6 million MWh of electricity produced in the state in 2019, 42% was generated from wind. There are about 5,100 wind turbines in the state. Electricity production from other renewable sources in Iowa is relatively low.

Energy production from wind has ramped up considerably in Iowa in recent years — and 2019 was the first time that coal accounted for a smaller share of electricity generation — 35.4% — as wind in the state.

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8. Montana
> Electricity from renewables: 44.7% of total (12.4 million MWh)
> Largest renewable energy source: Hydroelectric conventional (10.0 million MWh)
> Largest non-renewable energy source: Coal (14.1 million MWh)
> 10-yr. change in share of renewable energy: +5.7 ppt. (21st highest)

Montana is home to about 30% of the nation’s recoverable coal deposits. Despite abundant non-renewable resources, the state derives nearly 45% of its electricity from renewable sources, more than all but seven other states. Far and away, the largest renewable energy source in Montana is hydro, followed by wind.

Still, six utility-scale coal-burning power plants generate about 51% of all electricity produced in Montana. With vast resources and a relatively small population, Montana consumes only about half of the electricity it produces. The rest is sold to other states — primarily Washington and Oregon.

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7. California
> Electricity from renewables: 48.2% of total (97.3 million MWh)
> Largest renewable energy source: Hydroelectric conventional (38.4 million MWh)
> Largest non-renewable energy source: Natural gas (85.8 million MWh)
> 10-yr. change in share of renewable energy: +22.1 ppt. (6th highest)

Nearly half — 48.2% — of electricity produced in California is from renewable sources. Though hydroelectric power plants account for the largest share of renewable power generated in the state, droughts in recent years have made hydroelectric output less predictable.

The state has been able to meet demand for electricity during drought years, in part, through increased production of solar energy. Electricity generated through solar panels now accounts for 14.0% of electricity production in the state. A decade ago, solar generated just 0.3% of electricity. No state reported a larger increase in solar electricity production over the last 10 years than California.

Still, meeting electricity demand in the country’s most populous state is no small task, and to do so, California also relies heavily on fossil fuels. Nearly 43% of the state’s electricity production comes from natural gas-burning power plants.

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6. Oregon
> Electricity from renewables: 62.2% of total (38.7 million MWh)
> Largest renewable energy source: Hydroelectric conventional (30.3 million MWh)
> Largest non-renewable energy source: Natural gas (20.9 million MWh)
> 10-yr. change in share of renewable energy: -3.6 ppt. (3rd lowest)

Of the 62.3 million MWh of electricity produced in Oregon in 2019, 62.2% came from renewable sources — making the state one of only six nationwide where half of all electricity is produced from renewables. Like many states that rely heavily on renewable energy, the largest share of electricity produced in Oregon is from hydroelectric plants. The four largest power plants in the state are hydroelectric plants on the Columbia River. As is the case with other states in the region, however, hydro production has dropped in recent years due to a drought.

Meanwhile, wind production in the state has increased substantially. There are now about 1,900 wind turbines in Oregon that generated 10.6% of the state’s electricity in 2019. A decade ago, wind accounted for only 6.1% of electricity production in Oregon.