Powering America

By John Tozzi and David Yanofsky

How does each state heat its homes, fuel its vehicles, and power its factories? South Carolina and Vermont depend the most on nuclear plants. Wind and solar power barely make a dent in most places, though wind turbines on the plains of Iowa and North Dakota supply about 5 percent of those states’ power. The Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, rely the most on renewable energy, much of it from hydroelectric power.

This map displays electricity in the state where it’s generated. A power plant in New Jersey is reflected in that state’s totals even if much of the electricity it creates is exported to other states. We present the data in two ways: The first shows the absolute amount of each energy source used by each state, expressed in trillions of British thermal units (Btu). The second displays that amount as a percentage of the state’s total energy, showing how reliant each state is on a given source. To compare how much different states rely on a particular energy source, check the box marked “percentage of state’s use.”

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