Power At-a-Glance: U.S. Renewable Map

Keep hearing that renewable energy is booming in the United States? Well, where is it?

Keep hearing that renewable energy is booming in the United States? Well, here’s a handy map from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to show how much electricity each state gets from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal (but not hydropower):

EIA_Renewable_Map

Why do some states do better than others? Policy helps. Some 30 states have laws that require utilities to get a certain portion of their power from renewable sources. (The Southeast is the big exception here.) The strictness of the laws varies from state to state, but by and large, states with stricter standards get more renewables. But simply having natural resources helps, too: Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota don’t have strict standards, but there’s so much wind up there that turbines are going up anyway.

What’s less clear is whether this rapid growth will continue. A good portion of the recent boom in wind and solar power has been thanks to the federal production tax credit and assorted grants in the stimulus bill. Those grants have now expired and the tax credit for wind will expire at the end of 2012. Clean-energy advocates are hoping it gets renewed when Congress tries to avert “Taxmageddon” and the end of this year, but that’s not a sure bet.

Click here to read the complete article.

Source: Brad Plumer | The Washington Post
Image: U.S. Energy Information Administration | The Washington Post