If I asked you to guess which states produce the most renewable energy, what would you say?
You might think of California or Hawaii with their headline grabbing progressive policies on setting the highest renewable standards. Perhaps you’d envision extremely sunny states like New Mexico or Arizona where solar energy development has expanded.
Would Idaho or Iowa come to mind? You might be surprised to know that rural (and more conservative) states are the top renewable energy producing states when ranked by this nifty interactive map from the Department of Energy.
However, dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that there is some controversy (there always is) when it comes to what the Energy Information Agency considers renewable. From the above linked CNBC article:
Renewable energy comes from a source that is naturally replenished and not depleted when used. The U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric and geothermal energy as renewable… Some of the accepted sources also attract their own controversy as “renewables,” including hydroelectricity and biomass.
There are some great tools on the EIA website to play around with if you’re curious which states are producing the most (insert type of) energy. For example, wind or (this example actually comes from the Solar Energy Industry Association) solar. Have fun clicking around and always remember to read a layer deeper when you see an attention grabbing headline. 🙂