Overall, fossil fuels still dominate electricity generation in the United States. But the shift from coal to gas and renewable technologies has helped to lower carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution.
Last year, natural gas was the largest source of electricity in 20 states, while wind emerged as a leader in Iowa and Kansas. Coal remained the primary power source in 15 states – about half as many as two decades ago.
Source: United States Energy Information Administration
The decline of coal has largely been driven by market forces. Mr. Trump pushed to weaken regulations on industry, but more coal power plants closed during his first term than in the last four years of Barack Obama’s presidency, as utilities found it more economical to switch to cheaper natural gas and, increasingly, renewable power.
“We’re going to continue to see coal plants retire,” said Kate Konschnik, who heads the climate and energy program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “The big question now is whether those plants get replaced with gas or cleaner energy.”
Natural gas has come out on top in recent years, but clean technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and batteries have fallen so far in price that they are now often the cheapest option available. Concerns over climate change have prompted many states to envision a shift away from gas, which, although cleaner than coal, is a major source of planet-warming emissions like carbon dioxide and methane.
While Mr. Trump has campaigned on a promise to preserve America’s reliance on fossil fuels — championing coal in 2016 and fracking for oil and natural gas this year — blue states like California have moved in the opposite direction, requiring utilities to use increasing amounts of wind and solar power each year. Last year California generated nearly half of its electricity from renewable sources and is serving as a testing ground for the type of transition away from coal, oil and natural gas that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has promised to pursue if he is elected president.
Below, we have charted how electricity generation has changed in every state between 2001 and 2019 using data from the United States Energy Information Administration. Scroll down or skip to your state:
In 2001, coal fueled more than half of the electricity produced in Alabama, but several of the state’s aging coal plants have since closed or transitioned to burning cheaper natural gas. In 2019, natural gas was the top electricity source in the state, followed by nuclear power. Coal came in third place, providing less than one-fifth of the state’s power generation.
Alabama generates more electricity than it consumes and typically sends about one-third of its output to nearby states.
Natural gas has been Alaska’s top source of electricity generation since 2001, but hydroelectric power has increased its share during that time. The state aims to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, but that goal is voluntary and has no legal weight.
Alaska has its own electric grid, which means that “whatever electricity is created there is what they’re consuming,” said Glenn McGrath, a power systems analyst at the Energy Information Administration. “It’s about as isolated as you can get.”
Many of Alaska’s rural communities are not connected to the main grid and use diesel generators for power, although smaller wind turbines are also becoming a common option.
Coal was Arizona’s top source of electricity generation until 2016, when natural gas began to surpass it. The state also has the largest nuclear power plant in the country, the Palo Verde Generating Station, which produces nearly one-third of Arizona’s electricity.
In recent years, coal’s decline in Arizona has accelerated, a result of competition from cheap gas. The state’s Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in the West, closed in 2019,despite a push by the Trump administration to save it.
Arizona supplies electricity throughout the Southwest. The state has abundant solar resources and its largest utility, Arizona Public Service,has set voluntary goals of getting 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and going completely carbon-free by 2050. In the past, however, the utility has lobbied against proposals to enshrine these renewable targets into law.
Coal was the largest source of electricity produced in Arkansas every year between 2001 and 2019, but its market share has slowly declined over time. Natural gas, meanwhile, has expanded and provided 33 percent of the electricity produced in the state last year, up from just 6 percent in 2001.
Arkansas generates more electricity than it consumes and exports power to nearby states.
Natural gas has been California’s top electricity source since 2001. But nearly half of the power produced in the state last year came from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectricity.
Solar power in particular has grown rapidly over the past decade, largely because of state policies like an aggressive renewable electricity standard. In 2018, California’s legislature required that utilitiesget all of their electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2045. The state is adding large lithium-ion batteries for energy storage and rethinking its grid operations to handle the increase in solar power, which only runs during the daytime.
California’s utilities and regulatorsare now wrestling with the question of how quickly they can reduce natural gas use while still maintaining reliable power. Last year, about one-quarter of the electricity consumed in the state came from outside of its borders. (Imports are not pictured in the graphic above.) Los Angeles still imports some coal-fired electricity from Utah, butis planning to replace that with natural gas by 2025.
The vast majority of the electricity generated in Colorado comes from fossil fuels: less than half from coal and nearly one-third from natural gas. But wind power has been on the rise over the past decade. In 2019, wind was the third-largest source of electricity produced in Colorado, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the state’s power generation.
Colorado has long had a requirement that 30 percent of the electricity sold by utilities come from renewable sources by 2020. Last year, the governor proposed going even furtherwith a 100 percent renewable electricity target by 2040. And Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel Energy,has said it can save money by shutting down more coal plants in the years ahead and shifting to a mix of solar, wind, batteries and gas.
Natural gas and nuclear power supplied the vast majority of electricity generated in Connecticut between 2001 and 2019. Natural gas has been on the rise in recent years, accounting for more than half of the state’s electricity generation last year, up from just 13 percent nearly two decades earlier. Coal-fired generation has almost entirely disappeared in the state and Connecticut’s last remaining coal plant, Bridgeport Harbor, isscheduled to close in 2021.
Five percent of the electricity generated in Connecticut came from renewable sources in 2019. Two years ago, the state expanded its renewable energy standard torequire that utilities get 40 percent of the electricity they sell to consumers from renewable sources by 2030.
Natural gas displaced coal as the primary source of electricity produced in Delaware in 2010 and coal generation has declined significantly since then. Coal provided 70 percent of the power produced in Delaware in 2008, its peak year, but just 4 percent by 2019. Natural gas more than quadrupled its generation share during the same period.
Thanks in part to this shift, carbon dioxide emissions from the state’s electricity sector have fallen over the past decade. Delawarewill require that utilities get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Power produced inside the state supplies “between two-thirds and three-fourths of the electricity sold to Delaware customers,” according to the E.I.A. The rest comes from neighboring states through the regional grid. (Imports are not shown in the chart above.)
In 2001, more than one-third of the electricity produced in Florida came from burning coal. Two years later, natural gas surpassed coal as the state’s top generation source and has continued to expand its share of the state’s power mix ever since. By 2017, natural gas made up three-fourths of Florida’s electricity generation, nearly double the national average.
Florida is the second-largest producer of electricity nationwide, after Texas, but still relies on imports from neighboring states to meet consumer demand.
Despite its nickname, the Sunshine State still generates relatively little power from solar panels and has no renewable electricity requirements.
Coal provided the majority of Georgia’s electricity generation through the 2000s but declined as natural gas power increased. In recent years, coal’s market share has dropped sharply as several aging coal-fired plants have been retired.
Utilities in the state are in the process of buildingtwo new nuclear reactors, the only new nuclear projects currently under construction in the country.
About one-tenth of Georgia’s power generation came from renewable sources last year, mostly biomass and hydroelectricity. But solar power is now growing quickly. While Georgia doesn’t impose any statewide renewable energy requirements, the city of Atlanta has set a goal of gettingall of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.
Hawaii has relied heavily on imported petroleum to make electricity for the past two decades. But the state has abold plan to generate all of its power from local renewable sources by 2045.
Last year, renewables accounted for nearly one-quarter of the power produced in Hawaii, up from less than one-tenth in 2001. Solar generation, mostly from small-scale rooftop panels, has grown rapidly in the state over the past five years.
Hydroelectric power has long dominated Idaho’s generation mix. But, in recent years, its share has fallen, partly because of drought. The state still produces the majority of its electricity from renewable sources, with wind responsible for 16 percent of in-state generation last year, up from less than 2 percent a decade ago. Solar power, while still a small share, increased significantly between 2016 and 2019.
Idaho relies heavily on out-of-state imports to meet about one-third of its electricity demand. In the past, much of this imported electricity has come from coal power plants in neighboring states, although Oregon closed its last coal plant in October and other nearby coal plants are scheduled to shut down over the next several years. (Imports are not shown on the chart.) Idaho National Laboratory, a federal research center,is also planning to build several first-of-a-kind small nuclear reactors later this decade.
Nuclear power is Illinois’s top source of electricity generation and has provided more than half of the power produced in the state for nearly two decades. Coal is an important source of power, too — briefly surpassing nuclear as the top generation source in 2004 and again in 2008 — but its share has declined in recent years as older power plants have been retired or converted to burn natural gas. Both natural gas and wind power have increased over the past decade.
Illinois has required utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, although that policyhas struggled to gain traction. The state produces considerably more electricity than it uses and sends about one-fifth of its excess power to Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states through regional grids.
Coal has generated most of the electricity made in Indiana for nearly two decades, but, in recent years, natural gas and wind power have made inroads. Natural gas accounted for 2 percent of the state’s electricity generation in 2001 but grew to provide nearly 31 percent in 2019.
While less than one-tenth of the state’s electricity comes from renewables, more utilities are expressing an interest in cleaner technologies for economic reasons. In 2018, the Northern Indiana Public Service Companysaid it could save money by retiring several existing coal plants over the next decade and replacing them largely with a mix of new solar and wind power plus battery storage.
Wind power has surged in Iowa over the past decade. Wind turbines provided just 1 percent of the electricity produced in the state in 2001 but climbed to 42 percent by 2019. Iowa still produces more than one-third of its electricity from coal, but coal’s generation share has declined since 2010.
In absolute terms, the state, one of thewindiest in the country, was the third-largest producer of wind power last year, after Texas and Oklahoma. Iowa produces more power than it consumes, sending the surplus to nearby states.
Iowa in 1983 became the first state to pass legislation requiring utilities to get some amount of electricity from renewable resources, but the state has not updated those standards since.
Like manyGreat Plains states, Kansas has seen significant growth in wind power over the past decade, as developers have put up thousands of turbines to capture the strong winds blowing across the open prairie. Last year, wind surpassed coal to become Kansas’s largest source of electricity generation.
In 2009, the Kansas legislature passed a renewable energy standard requiring utilities to get an increasing amount of electricity from wind, solar and other renewable sources — up to 20 percent by 2020. But state legislators softened the measure in 2015, making the goal voluntary, after conservative groups with ties to the industrial conglomerate Koch Industrieslobbied against the stricter standard.
Coal still generates the vast majority of the electricity produced in Kentucky, a longtime coal mining state. Last year, coal was the source of 73 percent of state generation, but for most of the past two decades that number hovered closer to 90 percent.
Since 2014, a number of Kentucky’s older coal plants have been shut down or converted to burn natural gas, which provided 21 percent of the state’s electricity generation last year. In February, the Tennessee Valley Authority shut down a 50-year-old coal plant in western Kentucky, citing both cost and maintenance issues,despite pressure from the Trump administration to keep the plant running.
Natural gas provides the bulk of electricity generation in Louisiana, one of the top five producers of natural gas in the country. Last year, gas accounted for 69 percent of electricity made in the state, up from 46 percent in 2001. During that time, coal-fired generation declined, dropping from its position as the second-biggest source of power in the state to third place.
Louisiana also gets some electricity from neighboring states. (Imports are not shown in the chart above.)
Four-fifths of the electricity generated in Maine last year came from renewable sources. Most of that was from hydroelectric dams and biomass plants, which burn wood and other organic materials. But Maine is also New England’s leader in wind power, and wind turbines generated one-quarter of electricity in the state last year.
In 2000, the state required that electricity providers get 30 percent of the power they sell to customers from existing renewable resources. That law has been amended several times and last year the legislature set a new goal of requiring utilties to get 100 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2050.
The total amount of electricity produced inside Maine has declined since 2010, and the state has increasingly relied on energy imports from Canada. (Imports are not included in the chart above.)
Coal power has been declining sharply in Maryland over the past decade, and last year generated just 14 percent of electricity in the state. At the same time, the share of electricity generated by nuclear power and natural gas has increased significantly.
Solar power, while still small, has grown quickly over the past several years. Since 2004, the state has required that an increasing amount of the electricity sold by utilities come from renewable sources,and last year set a target of 50 percent by 2030.
Maryland consumes more electricity than it generates and imports nearly half of its power from other Mid-Atlantic states through the regional grid. (Imports are not included in the chart above.)
Natural gas has more than doubled its share of electricity generation in Massachusetts over the past two decades, while coal and oil generation have fallen sharply during that time. Last year, the state’s only nuclear plant, which was responsible for one-tenth of electricity generation,shut down permanently, in part because of competition from natural gas.
The amount of electricity created from solar power has steadily risen in Massachusetts since 2013. The state legislature recently toughened its mandate for utilities to sell electricity from renewable sources, raising the requirement to35 percent of total sales by 2030 and increasing by 1 percent every year thereafter. The new legislation also aimed to encourage offshore wind development andthe first such project is scheduled to come online by 2023.
Massachusetts consumes more electricity than it produces in-state and gets the remainder from nearby states through the regional grid. (Imports are not shown in the chart above)
Coal remained the top source of electricity produced in Michigan last year, but its generation share has declined from 60 percent in 2001 to 32 percent in 2019. During the same period, natural gas more than doubled its generation share. Wind power, Michigan’s main renewable energy source, provided nearly 5 percent of the electricity produced in the state last year.
In 2008, Michigan required utilities and other electricity providers to get at least 10 percent of the power they sell to customers from renewable sources by 2015. That goal was met and the renewable target was subsequently raised to 15 percent by 2021.
Coal has been the top source of electricity generated in Minnesota for the past two decades. But coal’s generation share has dropped from 66 percent in 2001 down to 31 percent in 2019 as wind and natural gas power expanded.
Minnesota requires its electric utilities to get an increasing fraction of their power from renewable sources, with the target rising to 25 percent in 2025 for many companies. Minnesota currently imports about one-fifth of the electricity it uses from other states that share a regional grid. (Imports are not shown in the chart above.)
Natural gas powered more than three-quarters of the electricity generated in Mississippi last year. Coal, once the state’s top source of electricity, has declined precipitously over the past decade, outcompeted by cheaper natural gas. Coal provided 36 percent of the electricity produced in-state in 2001, but just 7 percent in 2019.
Missouri’s electricity generation mix hasn’t changed much in nearly two decades. Coal provided the vast majority of power generated in the state between 2001 and 2019, declining only modestly during that time as older coal-fired plants went offline or switched to burning natural gas.
Missouriwill require utilities to get at least 15 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2021, including a small amount from solar power.
Coal has been the top source of electricity produced in Montana for nearly two decades but its generation share declined from 70 percent in 2001 to 52 percent last year. Hydropower, the state’s second-largest source of electricity, has increased its share during that time to 35 percent,though that can fluctuate year to year depending on water availability. Wind power has also grown to 9 percent of in-state generation.
Montanans only use about half of the electricity produced in the state,according to the E.I.A. Much of the rest is sent to Washington and Oregon.
Coal has been the top source of electricity produced in Nebraska for nearly two decades, but its generation share declined between 2001 and 2019. Nuclear power provided roughly one-quarter of the state’s electricity generation on average during that time, but its share has varied from year to year. In 2016, one of the state’s two nuclear plants, Fort Calhoun, was permanently shut down for economic reasons.
Wind has been increasing its share of total generation over the past decade, accounting for 19 percent of the electricity produced in the state last year. Nebraska has the potential for substantially more wind and solar power, according to the E.I.A., but does not have any renewable electricity requirements.
Natural gas edged out coal as Nevada’s top electricity generation source in 2005. The state’s largest coal plant, the Mohave Generating Station, went offline at the end of that year, and more Nevada coal generators have shuttered since then because ofcompetition from cheap natural gas andstate laws that require renewable energy development.
Last year, natural gas provided 64 percent of electricity produced in the state, followed by solar power, which supplied 14 percent. The state also gets nearly one-tenth of its power from geothermal plants, which harvest heat from deep beneath Earth’s surface.
The rapid growth of solar power in recent years has prompted the state to ratchet up its goals for renewable energy. Until recently, Nevada required that 25 percent of the electricity sold by utilities in the state come from renewable sources by 2025. Last year, the state legislatureraised that target to 50 percent by 2030, while setting a goal of getting all of the state’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050.
The bulk of electricity generated in New Hampshire comes from the Seabrook nuclear power plant, the largest reactor in New England. Natural gas has provided about one-fifth of the power produced in the state since the early 2000s, when two new generating stations began operating. The share of New Hampshire’s electricity generated from coal has dwindled over the past two decades, from 25 percent in 2001 to less than 2 percent in 2019.
The state is requiring utilities to get 25 percent of the electricity they sell to customers from renewable resources by 2025. The top two sources of renewable energy in the state are biomass, or energy that comes from burning wood and other organic matter, and hydroelectric power.
New Hampshire produces more power than is consumed in-state and sends about half to neighboring states through New England’s regional electric grid. (Exports are not included in the chart above.)
Nuclear power was the top source of electricity generation in New Jersey until recently, when it was surpassed by natural gas. Last year, natural gas accounted for 55 percent of the state’s power generation, while nuclear power supplied 36 percent. Solar energy contributed 4 percent of the state’s electricity.
In 2018, the state’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant, the oldest in the nation at the time, closed down for good, partly because of competition from cheap natural gas. That same year, New Jersey’s legislature approved new subsidies to keep the state’s remaining three nuclear plants profitable, with supporters arguing that the plants are emissions-free and do not contribute to climate change.
At the same time, New Jerseyincreased its renewable energy standard to require that 21 percent of the electricity sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2021, with that requirement increasing to 35 percent by 2025 and to 50 percent by 2030. There is considerable potential for offshore wind along the state’s coast,according to E.I.A.
The state gets some of the power it consumes through the Mid-Atlantic regional grid. (Imports are not included in the chart above.)
Coal has been New Mexico’s primary source of electricity generation for nearly two decades. But coal-fired power has declined since 2004 in response to tougher air quality regulations, cheaper natural gas, and California’s decision in 2014 to stop purchasing electricity generated from coal in neighboring states.
Natural gas, wind and solar accounted for a little more than half of the electricity produced in New Mexico last year, up from just 15 percent two decades earlier. In 2019, the state legislature passed a law requiring utilities to get 50 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2030, rising to 100 percent by 2045.
According to E.I.A., New Mexico has among the highest potential for solar power in the country. The state also sends a significant amount of electricity to California, which has long set aggressive renewable energy goals.
Natural gas and nuclear power have supplied the majority of electricity generated in New York for nearly two decades and their share has expanded as coal use in the state has declined. For the past decade, New York has also produced about one-fifth of its electricity from hydropower, the state’s largest source of renewable energy.
As part ofan ambitious new climate change law, New York lawmakers last year required utilities to get 70 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2030, while eliminating their greenhouse gas emissions entirely a decade later. Wind and solar currently make up a small portion of New York’s generation, together providing about 6 percent of the state’s electricity last year. The state is currently planning to develop large wind farms offshore over the next two decades.
New York tends to consume more energy than it creates and imports some electricity from neighboring states and Canada. (Electricity imports are not included in the chart above.)
Coal provided the majority of North Carolina’s electricity generation between 2001 and 2011. But20 of the state’s coal-burning units shut down over the following six years and, by 2019, coal generated less than one-quarter of the state’s electricity. Natural gas and nuclear power each generate about one-third of the state’s electricity.
North Carolina is currently the only Southern state with significant solar generation. The state’s unique implementation of a decades-old federal mandate, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, hasencouraged the growth of utility-scale solar. North Carolina has also set a requirement that utilities get 12.5 percent of the electricity they sell to consumers from renewable energy resources by 2021. And one of the state’s largest utilities, Duke Energy, recently announced a goal of zeroing out its emissions by 2050, though it has proposed to build more natural gas plants in the meantime.
As in many Great Plains states, wind energy has taken off in North Dakota over the past decade. Last year, wind turbines generated more than one-quarter of the electricity produced in the state, up from less than 2 percent a decade earlier.
In 2007, the North Dakota Legislature set a voluntary goal for utilities to get 10 percent of the electricity sold to consumers from renewable or recycled energy by 2015 — a goal that has been quickly surpassed.
North Dakota produces more electricity than is consumed in the state and about half is sent to its neighbors. (Exports are not charted above.)
Last year, Ohio generated more electricity from natural gas than from coal for the first time in its history. Although coal had been the state’s dominant power source for decades, utilities have shut down several large coal plants in recent years as a boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has flooded the state with cheap natural gas. The share of Ohio’s electricity generated by gas has surged from less than 3 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2019.
Ohio produces another 14 percent of its electricity from two nuclear plants along Lake Erie, which are also facing stiff competition from gas. Last year, Ohio lawmakers approved a new bill that would give the state’s existing nuclear and coal plants nearly $200 million per year in subsidies to keep them open, while weakening the state’s requirements for renewable electricity. But lawmakersare now debating whether to repeal that bill in the wake of allegations that Ohio’s energy companies had bribed prominent lawmakers to get it passed.
The bulk of Oklahoma’s power generation for much of the past two decades has come from natural gas and coal, with the two often competing to be the state’s top source of electricity. But in 2016, wind surpassed coal as the second-largest source of electricity produced in the state.
Last year, the state was second only to Texas in total electricity generation from wind.
In 2010, Oklahomarequired that 15 percent of its generation capacity comes from renewable sources by 2015. It also designated natural gas as its preferred choice for new fossil fuel projects. The state hadexceeded the renewable target by 2012.
Most of the electricity produced in Oregon in any given year comes from hydroelectric dams, but the exact amount can fluctuate with changes in precipitation. Power from natural gas typically increases during drought years, and decreases in years with ample rainfall.
Over the past decade, wind power has grown to become the third-largest source of electricity generated in the state. In an effort to encourage more non-hydroelectric renewable energy, Oregon will require its largest utilities to get 50 percent of the electricity they sell from new renewable energy sources by 2040. The program covers projects introduced or upgraded since 1995, a cutoff that would exclude older hydropower.
Coal fueled the majority of electricity produced in Pennsylvania until 2014, when it fell below nuclear for the first time. Over the past decade, the state has seen a boom in production of natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. As a result, electric utilities have been closing down older coal plants in favor of newer gas-powered turbines.
Last year, natural gas was the top source of electricity generated in Pennsylvania, and the glut of cheap gas is now putting economic pressure on the state’s nuclear generators as well. One of the state’s nuclear plants, Three Mile Island, shut down for good last year. Pro-nuclear groups,who argue that the loss of this emissions-free electricity is bad news for climate change, have sought state subsidies to keep the remaining reactors open.
Pennsylvania will require that 18 percent of the electricity that utilities sell to consumers come from renewable and alternative energy by 2021, with at least 0.5 percent coming from solar power. Last year, renewable energy made up about 5 percent of in-state generation.
Pennsylvania is the country’s third-biggest generator of electricity, behind Texas and Florida, and the state is a major supplier of power to the Mid-Atlantic region.
Natural gas dominates electricity generation in Rhode Island, but wind and solar energy, while still small, have grown quickly in recent years.
Rhode Islandwill require electricity providers to get 38 percent of the power they sell to consumers from renewable sources by 2035. The state consumes more electricity than it generates and gets the rest from neighboring states. (Imports are not included in the chart above.)
A majority of the electricity generated in South Carolina comes from nuclear power, with natural gas and coal taking second and third place, respectively. Coal’s generation share has declined over the past decade as power from natural gas has increased. In 2017, utilities in South Carolinaabandoned plans to build two new nuclear reactors in the state after delays and cost overruns had plagued the multibillion-dollar project.
South Carolina produces more power than it consumes and sends the surplus to neighboring states.
Hydroelectric dams have supplied the majority of the electricity created in South Dakota for most of the past two decades, but coal generation surpassed hydroelectricity during three years: 2001, 2004 and 2008. Since then, coal’s share of the state generation mix has declined, while the share coming from wind power has increased.
Last year, wind was the second-largest source of electricity produced in South Dakota, accounting for nearly one-quarter of generation in the state.
South Dakota exports power to states across the Central and Western United States.
Coal supplied most of the electricity produced in Tennessee between 2001 and 2016, but its generation share has declined over the past decade as natural gas became more prevalent. In 2016, a new nuclear power plant was finally completed in Tennessee after decades of delays (so far, it is the only new reactor brought online in the United States this century). As a result, in 2017, coal-powered generation dipped below nuclear for the first time in nearly two decades.
Tennessee consumes more power than it produces and makes up the shortfall with electricity from nearby states. (Imports are not included in the chart above.)
Texas produces more electricity than any other state, and natural gas has been its top generation source since 2001, with coal in second place. But coal’s generation share has declined as wind power has increased. In 2014, wind overtook nuclear power as the third-largest source of electricity produced in the state. Texas now produces more total powerfrom wind than any other state, with Oklahoma and Iowa in second and third place.
Although solar power accounts for only a small fraction of Texas’ electricity, the state is still the country’s sixth-largest solar power producer and solar capacity doubled between 2017 and 2019.
Utilities and businesses in Texas are largely turning to wind and solar nowadays because it’s so cheap, and not because of state mandates. Texas didadopt renewable energy requirements back in 1999 and 2005, requiring utilities to add 10,000 megawatts of renewable capacity by 2025. But the state reached those goals a decade ago and lawmakers have not updated the law since.
The majority of electricity produced in Utah comes from coal, but coal’s share has declined over the last several years as natural gas has increased.
The state produces more energy than it consumes and sends the surplus to nearby states like California. At least one Utah power plant is switching from burning coalto natural gas to comply with California’s stricter environmental regulations.
Solar power grew to become the largest renewable generation source in the state in 2016 and expanded its share again last year. Utah has set a goal for utilities to get 20 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2025.
Most of the electricity generated in Vermont came from nuclear power until 2014, when the state’s only nuclear plant, Vermont Yankee, closed down. Since then, virtually all of the electricity produced in the state has come from renewable sources, including hydropower, biomass, wind and solar.
But Vermont also now generates less electricity overall than it did before the nuclear plant closed. Last year, the state only produced enough power within its borders to satisfy two-fifths of demand. The rest came from imports, mainly from nearby New England states and Canada. (Imports are not shown on the chart above.)
Vermont’s renewable energy goalrequires that 75 percent of electricity sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2032, including 10 percent from small, in-state sources.
Coal was the top source of electricity produced in Virginia between 2001 and 2008, but its share has declined since then. By 2015, natural gas had become the state’s largest source of electricity, a result of the nationwide boom in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that produced a glut of cheap gas. Nuclear generation has provided a little more than one-third of Virginia’s electricity, on average, over the past two decades.
In April, Virginia approved a new law requiring that the state’s two biggest utilities get all of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050. Under that law, nearly all of Virginia’s coal plants will need to close down by 2024. Before the bill passed, the state only had voluntary requirements for renewable power.
Virginia consumes more electricity that it generates, so it gets additional power from nearby states through the Mid-Atlantic regional grid.
Washington is the nation’s largest producer of hydroelectric power, which has dominated the state’s electricity mix since 2001. Hydropower’s generation share fluctuates with changes in precipitation from year to year, with coal, nuclear, natural gas, and wind power making up most of the rest.
Washington produces more electricity than it consumes and exports power to Canada and other Western states. In 2019, the state required its electric utilities to transition fully away from fossil fuel-generated power by 2045.
Coal dominates West Virginia’s power mix, supplying more than 90 percent of the electricity produced in the state every year for nearly two decades. Hydropower has provided a small and relatively steady portion of in-state generation between 2001 and 2019, while wind and natural gas have increased their generation share in recent years. Each of those sources accounted for about 3 percent of electricity created in the state last year.
After years of lobbying by conservative groups, West Virginia became the first state to repeal its renewable energy standard in 2015. The law would have required utilities to get 25 percent of their electricity from alternative and renewable energy sources by 2025. Opponents of the standard said it was hurting coal jobs and raising electricity rates, while supporters said it would help to diversify the state’s electric sector at a time when the national coal market was in decline.
West Virginia generates more electricity than it consumes and supplies a little under half of its power to other Mid-Atlantic States through the shared regional grid. (Exports are not pictured in the chart above.)
The bulk of electricity produced in Wisconsin still comes from coal, but natural gas has quickly expanded its generation share in recent years. Wind power established a foothold in the state more than a decade ago but remains a relatively small player in the state’s electricity mix.
In 2019, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, set a statewide goal of shifting to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and created a new state office to steward the transition. The proposal has faced opposition in the Republican-led legislature, however.
The vast majority of electricity generated in Wyoming comes from coal, but wind power has made inroads during the past decade. Last year, wind provided nearly one-tenth of the electricity produced in the state.
Because of its small population, Wyoming produces much more power than it consumes and sends nearly 60 percent to nearby states.