The US depends highly on the use of energy, for transport, home, business and industrial use, given that it comprises of a society that is highly developed and industrialized. In 2015, the split of energy production was as follows: Natural Gas at 32 %, Petroleum at 28 %, Coal at 21 %, Renewable energy at 11 % and Nuclear power at 9 %.
In 2009, President Obama began his campaign on doubling the country’s renewable energy and gave himself a target of three years to reach this goal. Several states have come to see the importance of using renewable energy. This is because the use of renewable energy was normally accompanied by saving of costs. One of the major coal companies, Duke Energy, is looking at constructing three solar power plants in Kentucky.
Steps taken by states in supporting renewable energy
Various states have shifted their focus on the use of renewable energy. The following are the four top states that have adopted the use renewable energy;
Alaska at 32.56 % represented by 1,713 GWH: Alaska is the largest and least inhabited state in the U.S. Despite this, the demand of energy per person stands at the third highest in the country. Given the impact of global warming, most companies have been forced to reduce the time taken to drill onshore oil, since the drilling equipment can only be used in the coldest months. This has led to the shift hydropower to produce electricity, which accounts for 90 % of the renewable energy. The Alaskan coastline is also a great resource when it comes to wind power which contributed to almost 10% of the renewable energy consumed.
Montana at 43.85 % represented by 12,313 GWH: Montana holds a quarter of the coal reserves in the U.S. Since the state comprises of fast running rivers, it enables them to be able to produce about 83 % of renewable energy from hydro power. The eastern plains in the state produce the remaining 17 % of the renewable energy. It is phenomenal how the state of Montana decided to pursue renewable energy in the first place given its huge coal deposits.
South Dakota at 70.26 % represented by 7,279 GWH: Without any coal reserves of its own, the state of South Dakota relies on the massive Missouri river to generate hydroelectric power. Thanks to this, the state boasts of having its population enjoying electricity prices that were lower than that of the national average in 2016. About 43 % of the renewable energy is wind power and the remaining 56.79 % comes from hydroelectricity.
Idaho at 78.65 % represented by 12,212 GWH: Despite the state of Idaho not voting in for a Democrat president, they did enjoy the fruits of President Obama’s green energy labor. They have massive rivers that contribute to the generation of hydroelectricity that is 77 % of the renewable energy, the wind is represented by 19.87 %, solar is 0.24 %, geothermal is at 0.79 % and biomass is at 1.74 %. Idaho’s wind power has flourished to an extent that they now export the energy to other states. They also boast of having one of the seven commercial scaled geothermal electrical generating plants in the U.S. Three of the largest utilities in Idaho offer net metering programs to residential, commercial and farm customers who can generate electricity from renewable sources on their own.