Published on September 14th, 2020 | by John Farrell
A nation of renewable-powered, job-generating, self-reliant states is within reach – and necessary.
If each US state took full advantage of its renewable resources, how much electricity would it produce? How much of its own electricity consumption could renewable energy fulfill? Would in-state renewable generation be enough to charge electric vehicles and power electric heating, too?
The answer, in almost every state, is a resounding yes.
In 2010, ILSR published the first national overview of state renewable electricity potential with the second edition of Energy Self-Reliant States (ESRS). At the time, only 32 states met the “self-reliant” standard and most states were setting ambitious goals to attain 25 percent renewable electricity. Now, several states and over 100 U.S. cities have made truly ambitious commitments to 100 percent renewable power.
We have mapped out the state-by-state renewable generation potential of rooftop solar, onshore and offshore wind, conventional geothermal, and small hydro.
As before, we’ve also considered energy efficiency, creating a version of our all-resources potential map that considers the difference if all states could match their energy intensity to a state like New York (a decrease in energy use per dollar of GDP for most states). A new layer considers how renewables could meet the increased energy demand required for the electrification of vehicles and buildings. Finally, we present an all-resources potential map that imagines a state of both lower energy intensity and high electrification, where the state taps its renewable electricity potential to power more of the total economy.
For a complete introduction, page-long briefs on each renewable resource, and an appendix on our methodology, read the full report. Without further ado, the maps await…
Want to dig even deeper into our results? Download the precise data in this Excel file.
This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update.
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Tags: distributed electricity, Institute for Local Self Reliance
John Farrell directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development. Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World. John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at [email protected]