Category: power

Mapped: U.S. Wind Electricity Generation by State

This post is by Niccolo Conte from Visual Capitalist

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wind energy by state map

Mapping U.S. Wind Energy by State

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Wind power is the most productive renewable energy source in the U.S., generating nearly half of America’s renewable energy.

But wind doesn’t blow fairly across the nation, so which states are contributing the most to U.S. wind energy generation?

This map uses data from the EIA to show how much wind electricity different U.S. states generate, and breaks down wind’s share of total electricity generation in top wind power producing states.

Wind Electricity Generation by State Compared

America’s wind energy generating states are all primarily located in the Central and Midwest regions of the nation, where wind speeds are highest and most consistent.

Texas is the runaway leader in wind, generating over 92 Terawatt-hours of electricity during a year, more than the next three top states (Iowa, Oklahoma, and Kansas) combined. While Texas is the top generator in terms of wind-powered electricity, wind only makes up 20% of the state’s total electricity generation.

StateWind Electricity Generation (Terawatt hours)Wind's Share of Net Electricity Generation
Texas92.9 TWh20%
Iowa34.1 TWh58%
Oklahoma29.6 TWh35%
Kansas23.5 TWh43%
Illinois17.1 TWh10%
California13.6 TWh7%
North Dakota13.2 TWh31%
Colorado12.7 TWh23%
Minnesota12.2 TWh22%
Nebraska8.7 TWh24%

(Read more...)

Road to Decarbonization: The United States Electricity Mix

The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council

Road to Decarbonization: The United States Electricity Mix

The U.S. response to climate change and decarbonization is ramping up, and putting a focus on the country’s electricity mix.

As pressure has increased for near-term and immediate action after the UN’s latest IPCC report on climate change, major economies are starting to make bolder pledges. For the United States, that includes a carbon pollution-free utilities sector by 2035.

But with 50 states and even more territories—each with different energy sources readily available and utilized—some parts of the U.S. are a lot closer to carbon-free electricity than others.

How does each state’s electricity mix compare? This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council highlights the energy sources used for electricity in U.S. states during 2020, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The U.S. Electricity Generation Mix By State

How does the United States generate electricity currently?

Over the course of 2020, the U.S. generated 4,009 TWh of electricity, with the majority coming from fossil fuels. Natural gas (40.3%) was the biggest source of electricity for the country, accounting for more than nuclear (19.7%) and coal (17.3%) combined.

Including nuclear energy, non-fossil fuels made up 41.9% of U.S. electricity generation in 2020. The biggest sources of renewable electricity in the U.S. were wind (8.4%) and hydro (7.3%).

But on a state-by-state breakdown, we can see just how different the electricity mix is across the country (rounded to (Read more...)

Crypto: Parallels to Packet Switching

There is an interesting objection to crypto that goes something like: crypto is all a rip-off because nobody actually needs decentralization which makes things slow and inefficient (“decentralization is a bug, not a feature”). I was somewhat surprised to see this objection from Michael Seemann, a German author, whose criticism of the power of the big platform companies I respect. In a Twitter exchange (in German) he pointed me to something he wrote a couple of years ago as predictions about the recentralization of the internet. Clearly Twitter doesn’t lend itself to differentiated answers, so I am writing this blog post instead.

First, a bit of history. Before today’s packet-switched world we had circuit-switched networks. For quite a long time the telcos, which were operating those networks, insisted that they were more efficient and that their centralized control was necessary to maintain this efficiency and cope with the demands of high bandwidth applications such as voice and video. I am sure that some of the telco people who made that argument genuinely believed in the superiority of their networks but others engaged in propaganda and lobbying solely to maintain power. Incidentally, that hasn’t gone away as can be seen in the ongoing contentious debate around net neutrality, where – to nobody’s actual surprise – it was revealed that the telcos had flooded the comment process.

In his post, Michael Seemann points out that there has been some degree of recentralization of the internet, through companies such as Level 3. (Read more...)

Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities

The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utility Council

Decarbonization Targets for the Largest U.S. Utilities

The U.S. recently rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and decarbonization is back on the minds of government officials and companies alike.

Though every sector plays a major role on the path to net zero carbon emissions, none are as impactful as the energy sector. In 2016, almost three-quarters of global GHG emissions came from energy consumption. With organizations looking to either curb energy consumption or transition to cleaner forms of energy, the pressure is on utilities to decarbonize and offer green alternatives.

How are U.S. utilities responding?

This infographic from the National Public Utility Council highlights the decarbonization targets of the largest investor-owned and public U.S. utilities.

U.S. Utility Decarbonization Targets Through 2035

The American energy sector has many players, but the largest utilities account for the bulk of production.

For each state, we looked at the largest investor-owned and public electric utilities by retail sales as tracked by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Decarbonization targets were taken from each utility’s stated goals or sustainability report.

After narrowing down from 3,328 different entities and subsidiaries, the final list of 60 utilities accounted for 60% of U.S. energy sales in 2019 at just under 1.93 trillion MWh (megawatt hours).

Many companies on the list have multiple goals spread across different timeframes, but they can be grouped into a few distinct categories:

  • Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: (Read more...)

Decarbonization 101: What Carbon Emissions Are Part Of Your Footprint?

The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utility Council

What Carbon Emissions Are Part Of Your Footprint?

With many countries and companies formalizing commitments to meeting the Paris Agreement carbon emissions reduction goals, the pressure to decarbonize is on.

A common commitment from organizations is a “net-zero” pledge to both reduce and balance carbon emissions with carbon offsets. Germany, France and the UK have already signed net-zero emissions laws targeting 2050, and the U.S. and Canada recently committed to synchronize efforts towards the same net-zero goal by 2050.

As organizations face mounting pressure from governments and consumers to decarbonize, they need to define the carbon emissions that make up their carbon footprints in order to measure and minimize them.

This infographic from the National Public Utility Council highlights the three scopes of carbon emissions that make up a company’s carbon footprint.

The 3 Scopes of Carbon Emissions To Know

The most commonly used breakdown of a company’s carbon emissions are the three scopes defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a partnership between the World Resources Institute and Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The GHG Protocol separates carbon emissions into three buckets: emissions caused directly by the company, emissions caused by the company’s consumption of electricity, and emissions caused by activities in a company’s value chain.

Scope 1: Direct emissions

These emissions are direct GHG emissions that occur from sources owned or controlled by the company, and are generally the easiest to track and change. Scope (Read more...)

Welcome to the Government-IT Infrastructure Complex

Whenever something really bad happens, we tend to rush to do something quick and fast which makes us feel better, but throws out important principles and thus has severe negative longterm consequences. The Patriot Act post 9/11 comes to mind. We just had a failed coup, the risk of which one could see coming from a mile away (actually going as far back as Trump’s election). But now that it has taken place, however weirdly farcical, everyone seems to finally wake up and so urgent action is required. Banning Parler from the app stores and cloud service providers feels good. And legal. Companies just choosing not to do business with someone who helped facilitate a coup, clearly a Terms of Service violation. How could this possibly be a bad thing?

The starting point for thinking about this should be the recognition that one of the biggest accomplishments of modern democracies is that the rule of law is administered by a government accountable to the people, with a balancing of powers between the executive, legislate and judicial branches. Unaccountable power, such as vigilantes, mobs, warlords, etc. are the hallmarks of poorly functioning countries and tend to suppress both freedom and economic activity. Who else might be unaccountable? Corporations that have lots of market power.

Over the last decades we have allowed many markets to become highly concentrated (see this excellent book by the economist Thomas Philippon). But nowhere is this effect stronger than online. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter have (Read more...)