Top 10 most popular energy charts of 2022

From lithium prices to Russian oil to top EV countries, here’s the data that our readers found most fascinating.
By Maria Virginia Olano

  • Link copied to clipboard

Every Friday, we publish charts featuring fascinating facts about the clean energy transition. Here are the 10 most popular from 2022.

1. How much oil does the U.S. actually import from Russia?

Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine back in February, the U.S. announced it would halt oil imports from Russia, which prompted the question: How much oil had the U.S. been importing from Russia to begin with? The answer: 245 million barrels in 2021 — just under 8 percent of total imports and about 3.4 percent of all petroleum consumed in the U.S. last year.

2. These countries have the most electric vehicles per capita

Norway has far outpaced every other country in EV adoption per capita, with a whopping 81 EVs per 1,000 residents in 2020. Other European countries took up spots 2 through 6 on the list of countries with the most EVs per person, followed by the U.S., China and South Korea.

3. Lithium prices are through the roof this year

Demand for batteries to power the clean energy transition is soaring. They are essential for electric vehicles, grid storage and more. That’s driven up demand for lithium carbonate, the commodity used to make lithium-ion batteries — and in turn driven up lithium prices.

4. The top 10 states building America’s renewable energy resources

As the U.S. continues to build out huge amounts of solar, wind and storage capacity, more than half of the clean energy pipeline is concentrated in just 10 states, led by an unexpected one — Texas.

5. Most U.S. solar jobs are in installation, not manufacturing

The controversial Auxin tariff case this spring brought attention to U.S. solar jobs — and opponents of new tariffs on solar panels pointed out that most of the existing jobs involve installing or developing solar projects, not manufacturing solar equipment.

6. Which countries buy the most EVs?

Norway comes in at the top again on EV adoption, with the highest percentage of new car sales that are electric — 86 percent in 2021, compared to 10 percent globally. The other Nordic nations rounded out the top five.

7. The top 10 countries with the most wind power

China and the U.S. led the world in total installed wind power in 2021. But on a per capita basis, Germany and Spain were the leaders.

8. U.S. solar installations could fall 50% or more under new tariffs

Back in May, when the U.S. solar industry was in an uproar over the Commerce Department’s consideration of new tariffs on panels imported from Southeast Asia, the Solar Energy Industries Association warned that solar installations in the U.S. could plummet under additional tariffs — a projection we highlighted in a chart. The next month, President Biden put a two-year pause on new solar tariffs. Then, earlier this month, the Commerce Department proposed new tariffs, which could go into effect in June 2024.

9. U.S. utilities are spending less on making electricity and more on getting it to customers

Even as the cost of making electricity has been declining — in part because of additions of cheap solar and wind power to the grid — the cost of getting that power to customers has been rising to nearly equal the cost of generating the power itself. This trend has major implications for U.S. utilities and for their customers and will shape energy policy into the future.

10. Which power sources are most deadly? Hint — not solar and wind

Rounding out the most popular charts of the year is this dire reminder that fossil fuels are not just harmful because burning them is the main driver of the climate crisis. Generating electricity from coal and oil directly kills a lot of people through air pollution and accidents.

Do you have ideas for charts you would like us to make in the new year? Let us know in the comments or tweet to us @canarymediainc.

If you enjoy our charts of the week, can you contribute to Canary Media to keep them coming?

Subscribe to receive Canary's latest news

Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.