Comparison By US State: Renewable Energy % Of Electricity Production vs Average Electricity Price vs CO2 Emissions vs Air Pollution

In this guide, we compare each US State by the following indicators:

– What % share of overall electricity production is made up by renewable energy 

– Average electricity price (retail price, in cents per kWh)

– Carbon intensity of electricity production (in terms of grams of CO2 emitted per kWh produced)

– And, level of air pollution/air quality (in terms of the amount of small particulate matter in the air)

 

Summary – Purpose Of This Guide, &, What Does The Data Say?

Purpose Of This Guide

There’s a few reasons that this guide might be useful

The first reason is to see whether the % share that renewables energy makes up of overall electricity production is significantly impacts electricity prices in any consistent way 

A second reason is that electricity generation is usually one of the key sectors that is linked to CO2 emissions, with the transport sector another one. Both still use fossil fuels at this point in time.

It should be noted though that it is not only the electricity sector that contributes to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The burning of fossil fuels and activity in other sectors such as transport, heating and cooling, agriculture, industrial, residential, and more can contribute to them.

 

Considering The Potential Tradeoffs Of Renewable Energy

In States where renewable energy might be linked to higher electricity prices in a particular State (or a country), these States may want a guarantee that the renewable energy is leading to lower CO2 emissions from electricity and also lower air pollution levels, as a tradeoffs for the higher electricity prices

 

Using One State As An Example

California is perhaps an example of a State that might want to ask questions about their electricity sector and how much value they are getting out of their renewable energy

They have one of the highest renewable energy % shares for electricity production, but higher than average electricity prices, and poor air quality in several parts of the State (although other sectors and activities are likely responsible for the air quality)

Having said that, their CO2 emissions from electricity production are lower than average, which means they may be benefiting from lower greenhouse gas emissions

 

Other Notable States From The Data In This Guide

– State With The Highest Renewable Energy Share

Vermont

 

– States With The Highest CO2 Levels

West Virginia and Kentucky 

 

– State With The Most Expensive Electricity

Hawaii

 

– State With One Of The Highest Air Pollution Levels (in terms of Particulate Matter exposure)

California

 

– State With One Of The Lowest Air Pollution Levels (in terms of Particulate Matter exposure)

New Hampshire 

 

Change Over Time

It’s worth noting that greenhouse emissions, air pollution levels, renewable energy share and electricity prices can all change over time.

So, this data has to be re-checked and confirmed over time as these variables change

 

% Of Electricity Production That Is Renewable Energy vs Electricity Prices vs CO2 Emissions In Each US State

Below is a list of all US States.

 

The numbers in the list represent the following metrics:

First Line – Renewable Energy % Of Electricity Production (including hydro) in 2017

Second Line – Average Electricity Price (US cents per kWh) in 2017

Third Line – Carbon Intensity Of Electricity (CO2 Emissions in grams per kWh) in 2016

 

The list is:

Vermont – 99.6%, 14.6 US cents, 2 grams of CO2

Idaho – 81.6%, 8.26 cents, 83 CO2

Washington – 80%, 7.94 cents, 83 CO2

Oregon – 76.3%, 8.81 cents, 130 CO2

Maine – 75.9%, 13.02 cents, 130 CO2

South Dakota – 73.1%, 10.05 cents, 226 CO2

California – 47.2%, 16.06 cents, 186 CO2

Montana – 45.1%, 8.92 cents, 578 CO2

Iowa – 38.8%, 8.73 cents, 454 CO2

Kansas – 36.2%, 10.60 cents, 521 CO2

Oklahoma – 36.1%, 8.20 cents, 449 CO2

Alaska – 33.3%, 19.10 cents, 444 CO2

North Dakota – 31.8%, 8.78 cents, 763 CO2

New York – 27.8%, 14.74 cents, 206 CO2

Minnesota – 24.9%, 10.27 cents, 445 CO2

Nevada – 24.8%, 8.76 cents, 349 CO2

Colorado – 23.4%, 9.99 cents, 649 CO2

New Hampshire – 19.9%, 16.17 cents, 124 CO2

Nebraska – 19.3%, 9.08 cents, 581 CO2

New Mexico – 17.7%, 9.59 cents, 699 CO2

Texas – 16.0%, 8.38 cents, 457 CO2

Hawaii – 14.2%, 26.05 cents, 667 CO2

Arizona – 11.8%, 10.64 cents, 408 CO2

Utah – 11.6%, 8.60 cents, 722 CO2

Wyoming – 11.6%, 8.28 cents, 867 CO2

Tennessee – 11.2%, 9.45 cents, 453 CO2

Massachusetts – 10.5%, 17.12 cents, 334 CO2

North Carolina – 10.3%, 9.04 cents, 388 CO2

Maryland – 9.8%, 11.98 cents, 462 CO2

Wisconsin – 9.3%, 10.76 cents, 592 CO2

Alabama – 9.2%, 9.83 cents, 388 CO2

Arkansas – 8.8%, 8.26 cents, 500 CO2

Michigan – 8.3%, 11.28 cents, 492 CO2

Georgia – 7.9%, 9.83 cents, 431 CO2

Rhode Island – 7.2%, 16.42 cents, 394 CO2

Kentucky – 6.9%, 8.57 cents, 904 CO2

Illinois – 6.6%, 9.49 cents, 355 CO2

Virginia – 6.4%, 9.18 cents, 363 CO2

Indiana – 6.0%, 9.77 cents, 822 CO2

South Carolina – 5.9%, 9.97 cents, 284 CO2

West Virginia – 4.60%, 9.00 cents, 906 CO2

Pennsylvania – 4.35%, 10.13 cents, 382 CO2

Missouri – 4.24%, 10.03 cents, 785 CO2

Louisiana – 4.15%, 7.79 cents, 336 CO2

Connecticut – 3.46%, 17.55 cents, 192 CO2

New Jersey – 2.89%, 13.32 cents, 254 CO2

Mississippi – 2.6%, 9.09 cents, 412 CO2

Florida – 2.53%, 10.92 cents, 444 CO2

Ohio – 2.48%, 9.84 cents, 678 CO2

Delaware – 1.68%, 10.91 cents, 414 CO2

– wikipedia.org, and eia.gov

 

Air Pollution By US State

Air pollution can be expressed by measuring the concentration of different air pollutants in the air in a particular location.

Particulate matter is a major one, but, ozone and nitrogen dioxide are examples of others

With this in mind, it’s good practice to check exactly what the air quality status monitors, or air pollution ratings are tracking.

 

The following list is a list of States measured by particulate matter in the air only.

In 2018, from the healthiest State to least healthy state for Air Pollution, in terms of Average exposure of the general public to particulate matter of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) or less in size (3-year average):

North Dakota (least air pollution)

New Hampshire

Wyoming

Vermont

South Dakota

Hawaii

New Mexico

Massachusetts

Maine

Colorado

Idaho 

Montana

Wisconsin

Kansas

New York

Arkansas

Florida

Minnesota

Nebraska 

Iowa

Virginia

Alaska

North Carolina

South Carolina 

Mississippi

Rhode Island 

Connecticut 

Oregon

Tennessee

West Virginia

Missouri 

Oklahoma

Louisiana

Washington 

Kentucky 

Maryland

Michigan

New Jersey

Utah 

Alabama

Delaware

Georgia

Texas

Indiana

Nevada

Ohio

Illinois

Arizona

Pennsylvania 

California (most air pollution)

– See the full list by following the americashealthrankings.org resource

 

Other resources on the most and least polluted States and cities in the US are the lung.org resources, and the qz.com and wikipedia.org resources

 

 

Sources

1. https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/air/state/ALL

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_pollution_in_the_United_States

3. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/most-polluted-cities.html

4. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/cleanest-cities.html

5. https://qz.com/1604654/the-us-cities-with-the-worst-air-pollution-are-in-california/

6. https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/

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