Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Bluesky Facebook LinkedIn Mastodon MeWe

Twitter YouTube RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Which state is winning at renewable energy production?

Posted on 27 February 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk. While predicated on accepted scientific findings, this article includes conclusions of the author and is presented to our readers as an informed perspective.

Electricity is changing. As states like Minnesota commit to 100% carbon-free electric power, Montana is opting to double down on coal. Some of these developments make headlines, while others go unnoticed – though they’re no less important. Case in point: Can you guess which state generates the largest fraction of its electricity from renewable sources?

The answer: South Dakota. That state produced 83% of its in-state electricity from renewable sources in 2021, the result of its impressive implementation of wind energy. Between 2019 and 2021, South Dakota more than tripled wind energy production.

Bonus data points

  • The other leading states on this measure — Vermont, Washington, and Idaho — all derive the majority of their renewable energy from hydropower.
  • Texas produces the most renewable energy of any state, but it also generates an outsized amount of electricity from fossil fuels. So renewables only account for 26% of the state’s total electricity production. In 2021, 44% of Texas’s electricity came from fossil gas, also known as natural gas.
  • Important note: The map shows electricity production within each state’s borders. Many states and utility companies exchange electricity with other states. So this data may not reflect the energy that is actually consumed — as opposed to generated — within each state.

Data for electricity generation in all 50 states over the past 20 years is available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electricity Data Browser.

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 11:



    While it is impressive that several states are generating large % of electric generation from renewables, we need to maintain a realistic appreciation of the limitations and realistic appreciation of real world data.

    North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota among other states are part of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc (MISO grid).

    The US Energy Information association provides a wealth of real time information. Below is a link to the Electric generation by source The real time data shows the following when electric generation from renewables dropped below 30% of average electric generation (approx 10% of name plate capacity). Note the frequency of 72+ hours of significantly reduced electric generation.

    december 6 2022 , 1am through 12/11/2022, 5pm approx 5 days less than 30%

    Dec 18, 2022 11am though Dec 21 8pm - approx 3 days less than 30%

    Jan 5, 2023 9pm through Jan 8th 2023 9pm - approx 3 days less than 30%

    jan 20, 2023 10Am though jan 23 2am approx 3 days less than 10%

    Nov 12, 2022 through Nov 15, 2022 approx 3 days, less than 30%

    9 day span in June 2022 with less than 40%

    14 day span in august 2022 with less than 30%

    40 day span in July August 2021 with less than 30%


    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS]Replaced bad link with proper one.

  2. IN California, one problem is the badly managed arrangement for solar generation on rooftops. The planners were so rushed to get solar accepted with incentives and subsidies, they have crushed the common citizen.

    Below is from NEM is net energy meter, or power obtained from (primarily) rooftop systems and sold back to the grid. Ca did succeed in getting many systems built, and they incentivized rebates and high 'sell' to the grid rates so buyers were reinbursed within 3-5.5 years. Now all the wealthy ( able to afford ) homeowners who did that are set up, have the systems and the common citizen is paying through the nose subsidizing the whole mess.

    Of course the solution to this has to be, more regulations. Now they are going to remove incentives, engineer a 10 year recovery period for the incentives and the buying of solar will change ( plummet?) as they try and make it more fair.

    I am mostly entering these comments because I cannot find the gentleman here I discussed this with several weeks ago, who said all the electric cost issues in Ca. were from public utility deregulation and not mismanagement.

    No, its mismanagement, and the common citizen is paying for wealthier households to have gotten the NEM free passes. Now, as they reduce the benefits after all these systems have been put in, they will succeed in angering everybody.

    This will diminish the goal. Alternative sources are good, but running with scissors in hand and eyes closed at the words solar and wind is disserving the most vunerable of citizens, and saying they need to suck it up for the cause doesnt cut it.

    "All ratepayers pay as much as 10 times more for exported NEM energy than for other sources of renewable energy.[3] Californians today spend more than $3 billion a year to support NEM programs.

    An independent third-party evaluation of NEM 2.0 found that its costs substantially exceed its benefits as residential NEM 2.0 participants only pay 9 to 18 percent of what it costs their utilities to serve them, even considering the value of the energy produced by their NEM systems.
    Under NEM 2.0, the typical solar customer pays for the solar energy system through energy bill savings in 3-5.5 years depending on utility[4], and then receives substantial bill savings for the remainder of the current 20-year tariff.
    Ratepayers without NEM systems, who are disproportionately low-income, pay significantly higher electricity rates due to NEM."


    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [BL] Link activated.

    The web software here does not automatically create links. You can do this when posting a comment by selecting the "insert" tab, selecting the text you want to use for the link, and clicking on the icon that looks like a chain link. Add the URL in the dialog box.

  3. Peppers:

    Deregulation of California's electricity market was previously discussed on this thread.

    Nowhere in that thread does anyone claim that "all the electric cost issues in Ca. were from public utility deregulation and not mismanagement.", as you are claiming here.

    In your last comment on that thread, you stated "Ill have to study up on the deregulation someone, maybe you, mentioned that before. Apparently it is a factor Im not familiar with."

    You are doing your credibility a serious blow by creating strawman arguments that others claim that deregulation is the only factor involved. You have not responded to any of the comments on that other thread that discuss the deregulation problem.

    Based on your current comment, you are still "not familiar with" the deregulation issue.

    0 0
  4. Peppers @2... You're making an assertion that systems "have crushed the common citizen" but you're not providing any analysis that supports that claim. I'm a "common citizen" in CA and I'm not feeling particularly crushed by energy rates. My own sense of your assertion is that it's a conclusion you're seeking and are merely looking for reasons to justify it.

    In fact, as far as I can see, CA is doing a very good job at managing energy usage.

    Note that CA's population grew during this entire period, save the past couple of years when the population has slightly declined.

    0 0
  5. Gentlemen,

    Bob, your are talking about the speaker and not the topic. Chime in whenever.

    Rob, the link to Ca. Gov statistics is provided up there, and is the basis of my comments. As the wealthy install solar panels with incentives and sell power back and reduce their bill to low or none even, they do not participate in the fees or absorbing Cares discounts, the addon's and subsidy participation costs which are routinely added on the the electric bills. The burden is now passed to the common payer as the payer pool shrinks, and Ca is scrambling to change regs to stem this inequity. As they raise recovery times against costs to put up solar from 3.5 to 10 years and consider charging these costs as an aside ( removing big incentives for buying solar ), it will be hitting the brakes on new purchases of panels as well. A yo yo outcome. I am not just speculating, I am responding to what I read from the site there.

    0 0
  6. peppers @ 5:

    No, I am not "talking about the speaker". I am talking about your lack of reponse to counter-arguments that have already been made, and suggesting your lack of response indicates a failure to engage in meaningful discussion. Also, your provision of arguments against things that people have not said - in other words, putting (inaccurately) words into people's mouths - also reflects poorly on your level of engagement. It is your actions that are in question, not you as an individual.

    I suggest that you read the Comments Policy carefully. So far, I'm giving you mild suggestions on how you should approach discussions here. If I have to step in as moderator, I will also have to step out as a participant in the discussions. So far, you have not responded at all to my previous comments on regulation in the California electricity market, on that other thread. To make it easier for you to find those comments, here are links to them:

    0 0
  7. Peppers appears to be saying solar panels are subsidised, but even with subsidies only high income people can afford solar panels, and the cost of the the subsidies falls on the avergage tax payer and this is unfair. The poor are allegedly subsididing the rich. I hear this same reasoning with electric car subsidies. I acknowledge what people are getting at and we have to be careful that the costs of the transition to renewables don't disproportionately fall on low income people .

    But doesn't America have a progessive tax system, so the rich do ultimately contribute more to the subsidies for the solar  panels than low income people? And the subsidies promote the deployment of solar panels, so their price eventually drops, making them more accessible to low income people. So there are some positives in the subsidy policy.

    Other ways of speeding the uptake of solar panels are carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes, but these can potentially hurt low income people and have other downsides. There is no magic bullet, just a choice of the least worst option.

    Whether subsides or carbon price schemes are best for promoting renewables is contested. Economists seem to prefer carbon price schemes over subsidies. However Norway has strong incentives to buy EV's and uptake has been very impressive.

    Carbon pricing schemes are largely quite weak. The price has to be high to promote change but its politically difficult to have strong carbon pricing, strong carbon taxes, and the like. Quite a conundrum.

    0 0
  8. Peppers @5... Yes, there is a link there to the CA PUC but it's not clear how this supports anything you're saying. 

    Right now, any home owner in CA can order solar without actually even owning the solar panels. You can merely lease them and pay lower, fixed energy rates over the lifetime of the panels. No installation cost. Just lower bills. For non-home owners, in CA you can select the sources of your electricity on your energy bill. 

    I think you should consider taking a careful look at the graph I posted. If CA residents are using half the electricity per capita, even if paying higher rates than the rest of the nation, they end up (on average) paying less than people who live in low per-kwh rates.

    0 0
  9. to bob & Nigelj at 6 & 7

    There is a lot of misunderstanding on tax credits and who benefits from those tax credits, Those misunderstandings persist simply because the general public has a poor grasp of the basics of micro economics and the supply and demand curves. Tax credits which buyer obtains a reduction of their income tax artificially shift the demand curve. The size of the shift is a function of both the size of the credit and the natural demand for the product without the tax credit. The shift of the demand curve effectively raises the market price of the product. The buyer is still paying at or near the natural market price ( which is the gross price less the tax credit or some portion thereof depending on the elasticity of the product). As such, most of the benefit of the buyers tax credit goes to the seller in the form of higher sales price. A reasonable estimate in the case of EV's and home renewable products is 70-90% of the benefit effectively goes to the seller.

    0 0
  10. David-acct:

    The change in price in response to shifting supply or demand depends a great deal on the "elasticity" - basically, the slope of the supply or demand curve. Some products are very inelastic - prices are barely affected by large changes in supply or demand - while others are very elastic - small changes in supply or demand can lead to large price changes.

    Some products are essentials, and people will continue to pay for them even if prices go up a lot. Luxuries are often more elastic - people will readily reduce purchases if they think it's too expensive.

    As for who benefits from a credit - surely the individual buyer pays less in the end (the initial payment, less the tax rebate), even if the producer pockets more? Electricity is not a particularly elastic demand - people need it, and changing the amount they use is not easy. What happens if tax credits are given for renewable generation is that there is (hopefully)  a shift from non-renewable to renewable. It's not a function of the elasticity of electricity overall - it is a shifting of the demand from one source to another. Some purchases get a benefit, while others (still using non-renewable resources) do not.

    Do you have specific references to support your closing claim that 70-90% of the benefit goes to the seller?

    0 0
  11. David @9... "The shift of the demand curve effectively raises the market price of the product."

    Not necessarily. Specifically, with RE systems, what the tax credits are doing is making up for externalities. RE is operating in the energy marketplace and is therefore in competition with legacy energy generation from FF sources. Those FF sources have an effective advantage in that the byproducts of their uses have quantifiable, but uncaptured, harms to the global environment. 

    Regardless of whether a tax credit is making the energy product cheaper or making the RE provider more profitable doesn't matter. What matters is the overall benefit to the RE energy companies in lieu of direct taxes on carbon emissions.

    Same applies to EV makers. They are operating in the automobile market with, initially, products that cost more to manufacture. Tax credits level the playing field between EV's and ICEV's for a time period while economies of scale can be achieved by EV makers. Remember, all the auto tax credits have sunsets based on the numbers of vehicles sold. 

    In the case of EV's, clearly the tax credits are benefiting the buyer because the cost of EV's is just now (or within a year or two) achieving parity with the cost of manufacturing an ICEV. Thus, up until now those tax credits have served to bring the cost of EV's in line with ICEV's. 

    0 0

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2024 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us