Mapped: Biggest Sources of Electricity by State and Province
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Mapped: Biggest Sources of Electricity by State and Province
On a national scale, the United States and Canada rely on a very different makeup of sources to generate their electricity.
The U.S. primarily uses natural gas, coal, and nuclear power, while Canada relies on both hydro and nuclear. That said, when zooming in on the province or state level, individual primary electricity sources can differ greatly.
Here’s a look at the electricity generation in the states and provinces of these two countries using data from the Nuclear Energy Institute (2021) and the Canada Energy Regulator (2019).
Natural gas is widely used for electricity generation in the United States. Known as a “cleaner” fossil fuel, its abundance, coupled with an established national distribution network and relatively low cost, makes it the leading electricity source in the country.
In 2021, 38% of the 4120 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generated in the U.S. came from natural gas. Not surprisingly, more than 40% of American states have natural gas as their biggest electricity source.
Here are some states that have the largest shares of natural gas-sourced electricity.
|State/Province||% of Electricity from Natural Gas|
|🇺🇸 Rhode Island||90.9|
In Canada, natural gas is only the third-biggest electricity source (behind hydro and nuclear), accounting for 11% of the 632 TWh of electricity produced in 2019. Alberta is the only province with natural gas as its main source of electricity.
Nuclear power is a carbon-free energy source that makes up a considerable share of the energy generated in both the U.S. and Canada.
19% of America’s and 15% of Canada’s electricity comes from nuclear power. While the percentages are close to one another, it’s good to note that the United States generates 6 to 7 times more electricity than Canada each year, yielding a lot more nuclear power than Canada in terms of gigawatt hours (GWh) per year.
As seen in the map, many states and provinces with nuclear as their main source of electricity are concentrated in the eastern half of the two countries.
In the U.S., Illinois, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are top producers in terms of GWh/year. Illinois and South Carolina also have nuclear as their primary electricity source, whereas Pennsylvania’s electricity production from natural gas exceeds that from nuclear.
The vast majority of Canada’s nuclear reactors (18 of 19) are in Ontario, with the 19th in New Brunswick. Both of these provinces rely on nuclear as their biggest source of electricity.
Renewables: Hydro, Wind and Solar
Out of the different types of renewable electricity sources, hydro is the most prevalent in North America. For example, 60% of Canada’s and 6% of the U.S.’s electricity comes from hydropower.
Here are the states and provinces that have hydro as their biggest source of electricity.
|State/Province||% of Electricity from Hydro|
|🇨🇦 Newfoundland and Labrador||95|
|🇨🇦 British Columbia||87|
|🇨🇦 Northwest Territories||47|
Wind and solar power collectively comprise a small percentage of total electricity generated in both countries. While no state or province relies on solar as its biggest source of electricity, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota rely primarily on wind for their electricity, along with Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI).
Coal and Oil
Coal and oil are emission-heavy electricity sources still prevalent in North America.
Currently, 22% of America’s and 7% of Canada’s electricity comes from coal, with places such as Kentucky, Missouri, West Virginia, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia still relying on coal as their biggest sources of electricity.
Certain regions also use petroleum to generate their electricity. Although its use for this purpose is declining, it is still the biggest source of electricity in both Hawaii and Nunavut.
Over the next few years, it will be interesting to observe the use of these fossil fuels for electricity generation in the U.S. and Canada. Despite the differences in climate commitments between the two countries, lowering coal and oil-related emissions may be a critical part of hitting decarbonization targets in a timely manner.
Mapped: Renewable Energy and Battery Installations in the U.S. in 2023
This graphic describes new U.S. renewable energy installations by state along with nameplate capacity, planned to come online in 2023.
Renewable and Battery Installations in the U.S. in 2023
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Renewable energy, in particular solar power, is set to shine in 2023. This year, the U.S. plans to get over 80% of its new energy installations from sources like battery, solar, and wind.
The above map uses data from EIA to highlight planned U.S. renewable energy and battery storage installations by state for 2023.
Texas and California Leading in Renewable Energy
Nearly every state in the U.S. has plans to produce new clean energy in 2023, but it’s not a surprise to see the two most populous states in the lead of the pack.
Even though the majority of its power comes from natural gas, Texas currently leads the U.S. in planned renewable energy installations. The state also has plans to power nearly 900,000 homes using new wind energy.
California is second, which could be partially attributable to the passing of Title 24, an energy code that makes it compulsory for new buildings to have the equipment necessary to allow the easy installation of solar panels, battery storage, and EV charging.
New solar power in the U.S. isn’t just coming from places like Texas and California. In 2023, Ohio will add 1,917 MW of new nameplate solar capacity, with Nevada and Colorado not far behind.
|Top 10 States||Battery (MW)||Solar (MW)||Wind (MW)||Total (MW)|
The state of New York is also looking to become one of the nation’s leading renewable energy providers. The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) is making real strides towards this objective with 11% of the nation’s new wind power projects expected to come online in 2023.
According to the data, New Hampshire is the only state in the U.S. that has no new utility-scale renewable energy installations planned for 2023. However, the state does have plans for a massive hydroelectric plant that should come online in 2024.
Renewable energy is considered essential to reduce global warming and CO2 emissions.
In line with the efforts by each state to build new renewable installations, the Biden administration has set a goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and a net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050.
The EIA forecasts the share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources rising from 22% in 2022 to 23% in 2023 and to 26% in 2024.
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