Amid ever-more dire warnings from many in the scientific community, the U.N. secretary general has recently listed the climate crisis among the top threats to global security. In an acknowledgement of the scope of the problem, President Joe Biden laid out a commitment to make the U.S power grid carbon-pollution free by 2035.
To realize this goal, the U.S. will need to turn away from fossil fuels and transition toward renewable energy sources – and doing so will require a major overhaul of the national energy sector. As of 2020, natural gas, petroleum, and coal — all pollution-generating, non-renewable sources — accounted for over 60% of U.S. electricity production. Here is a look at the cities emitting the most carbon dioxide in the world.
Still, some states are transitioning to renewable energy faster than others. Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states producing the most electricity from renewable sources. States are ranked based on the share of electric power production from renewable sources, which are: biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind.
Depending on the state, the share of electricity production coming from renewable sources ranges from 2.5% to nearly 100%. Encouragingly, the vast majority of states have increased their renewable electricity production in recent years. Over the past decade, renewable sources as a share of total energy production has increased by over 5 percentage points in most states.
It is important to note that while transitioning to renewable energy sources is critical to achieving a pollution-free energy sector, not all renewable energy sources are carbon neutral, just as not all non-renewable energy sources emit greenhouse gasses. Biomass, such as waste wood and crop residue is renewable, but when it is burned to produce electricity, it creates carbon. Similarly, though nuclear power plants are not classified as renewable sources, they do not produce air pollution. Here is a look at the states with the most nuclear power plants.