Chart: What’s the top source of electricity in your state?

Twelve states now generate the largest share of their power from zero-carbon sources — wind, hydro or nuclear. The rest still rely most heavily on fossil fuels.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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Map of US with the top source of electricity in each state. Gas and coal dominate, but wind, hydro and nuclear are growing.

Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

In 12 U.S. states last year, the largest source of electricity generation was zero-carbon — wind, hydropower or nuclear. This map shows the biggest share of in-state generation for each state (not including electricity imported from other states or neighboring countries), based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Wind power made up the largest generation share in Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota — states in the windy Great Plains region. Hydropower was the leading source in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, as well as in Vermont. And nuclear power was the biggest contributor in Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Yet despite ongoing progress toward clean energy, fossil fuels still dominate nationally. Fossil gas was the largest source of in-state generation in 23 states last year, followed by coal in 15 states. Twenty years earlier, coal was No. 1, providing the largest share of electricity generation in 32 states, but it was displaced as the fracking revolution brought cheap and abundant fossil gas to the U.S. market.

Renewable generation is now growing fast. Solar, wind and batteries made up 73 percent of utility-scale capacity added in the U.S. from January through August of this year. And clean energy will be supercharged by the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. U.S. utilities have committed to shifting to clean energy, but they still haven’t given up on gas and coal. They plan to bring online 150,000 megawatts of solar, wind and energy-storage capacity by 2030, as we noted in a recent chart-of-the-week column. But they’re not shutting down their coal plants fast enough, and they plan to build nearly 38,000 megawatts of new gas capacity by the end of this decade.

Correction: This article originally stated that 11 states were primarily powered by zero-carbon generation sources in 2021. The correct total is 12.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.