Special Report

This is How Much Renewable Energy Oregon is Producing

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Within weeks of taking office, President Joe Biden issued a series of executive orders aimed at making the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050. This goal hinges on eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in electricity production — which necessitate a shift away from fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, toward clean renewable energy sources, like wind and solar.

Currently, only 17.7% of electricity produced in the United States comes from renewable sources. Nationwide, wind turbines generate the most electricity, followed by hydroelectric power plants and solar thermal power. Biomass, such as wood and agricultural waste, as well as geothermal energy, are renewable sources that account for a very small share of the U.S. energy mix.

Meanwhile, greenhouse gas-emitting coal and natural gas-fired power plants account for over half of all U.S. electricity production.

While, as a nation, the U.S. has a long way to go to achieve carbon neutrality, at a state level, progress is patchy. In some states, less than 5% of electricity production comes from renewable sources, while in others, fossil fuels have been virtually phased out.

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.

To determine renewable energy production by state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on electricity generation by source in 2019 from the Energy Information Administration. States were ranked based on the electricity generated from renewable sources — which include conventional hydroelectricity, wind, wood and wood-derived fuels, other biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal and photovoltaic — as a percentage of electricity generated from all sources. Data on electricity from non-renewable sources and historical electricity data also came from the EIA. Data on the average sale price of electricity came from the EIA and is for 2019.

It is important to note that not all renewable energy sources are carbon neutral, just as not all non-renewable energy sources emit greenhouse gases. Biomass, such as waste wood and crop residue is renewable, however, when burned to produce electricity, it creates carbon. Similarly, though nuclear power plants are not classified as renewable sources, they do not produce air pollution. Still, some forms of biomass produce far less carbon emissions than fossil fuels.


Rank: State: Electricity production from renewables: Largest renewable energy source: Largest non-renewable energy source:
1 Vermont 99.9% Hydroelectric Natural gas
2 Maine 78.6% Hydroelectric Natural gas
3 Idaho 76.3% Hydroelectric Natural gas
4 South Dakota 73.8% Hydroelectric Coal
5 Washington 69.8% Hydroelectric Natural gas
6 Oregon 62.2% Hydroelectric Natural gas
7 California 48.2% Hydroelectric Natural gas
8 Montana 44.7% Hydroelectric Coal
9 Iowa 43.6% Wind Coal
10 Kansas 41.7% Wind Coal
11 Oklahoma 39.1% Wind Natural gas
12 North Dakota 35.0% Wind Coal
13 Alaska 29.7% Hydroelectric Natural gas
14 New York 28.5% Hydroelectric Natural gas
15 Nevada 28.4% Solar Natural gas
16 Colorado 24.9% Wind Coal
17 Minnesota 24.3% Wind Coal
18 New Mexico 24.2% Wind Coal
19 Nebraska 23.2% Wind Coal
20 Texas 18.8% Wind Natural gas
21 New Hampshire 17.2% Hydroelectric Nuclear
22 Massachusetts 15.6% Solar Natural gas
23 Tennessee 13.9% Hydroelectric Nuclear
24 North Carolina 12.7% Solar Nuclear
25 Wyoming 12.7% Wind Coal
26 Hawaii 12.1% Wind Petroleum
27 Utah 10.9% Solar Coal
28 Arizona 10.8% Hydroelectric Natural gas
29 Alabama 10.6% Hydroelectric Natural gas
30 Wisconsin 9.4% Hydroelectric Coal
31 Maryland 9.1% Hydroelectric Nuclear
32 Georgia 8.9% Wood Natural gas
33 Arkansas 8.8% Hydroelectric Coal
34 Michigan 8.5% Wind Coal
35 Illinois 8.2% Wind Nuclear
36 Indiana 7.1% Wind Coal
37 Missouri 6.8% Wind Coal
38 Kentucky 6.5% Hydroelectric Coal
39 Virginia 6.4% Wood Natural gas
40 Rhode Island 6.2% Biomass Natural gas
41 South Carolina 6.0% Hydroelectric Nuclear
42 West Virginia 5.2% Hydroelectric Coal
43 Pennsylvania 3.9% Hydroelectric Natural gas
44 Louisiana 3.6% Wood Natural gas
45 Florida 3.5% Solar Natural gas
46 Connecticut 3.3% Biomass Natural gas
47 New Jersey 2.8% Solar Natural gas
48 Ohio 2.7% Wind Natural gas
49 Mississippi 2.6% Wood Natural gas
50 Delaware 2.3% Biomass Natural gas


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