Daniel Wood, a data visualization and cartographic specialist at the Department of Energy, develops interactive maps using national data on energy production and consumption. These maps allow us to learn several things about energy production in each of the states. By looking at the difference in vehicle fuel consumption between residents and public transportation, you can tell what form of transportation a state uses most. You can also look at the primary type of energy that a state produces. In doing so, you can learn several things about a state including what kind of land resources they have, what kind of energy jobs are centered there.
Interactive Energy Maps
One of the things Energy.gov makes interactive energy maps that show trends across the United States. This one shows how much Americans spend on energy per state. It then breaks down that expenditure to show the difference between the money spent on transportation needs such as gasoline for cars and public transportation and money spent on residential needs such as home heating or cooking. This data is shown in the image below. In the early 2000’s, transportation costs started to rise at a much faster rate than residential costs. According to this Energy.gov article, this fact is due to the growing increase in the cost of energy used to run cars and the cost of energy used for heating homes.
Energy Production Trends in the United States
The map below shows how much each state’s production of coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, biofuels, and other renewable energy such as solar, hydro-, and wind power. As we watch, several things stand out: while not all states take part in the production of coal and crude oil, almost all states take part in energy production through other renewable energy sources. As Well Said readers know, Pennsylvania and Texas are among America’s leading producers of natural gas, but people may not know that Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Louisiana also a huge natural gas producers.
A Look at the 50th State
On the map above, Hawaii has a unique makeup of the energy sources they produce. 100% the energy produced in Hawaii comes from non-fossil fuels. This shows they have a strong focus on alternative energy production. In Hawaii’s case, they have the world’s largest biofuel-powered electricity generator and use geothermal energy. This report, put out by Hawaii’s State Energy Office, shows that this state, like many others, are actively working to improve their production and usage of natural gas.
Energy Facts Nation-Wide
Here are some other interesting facts that can be learned from the Department of Energy’s other maps:
- Residents of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska and Massachusetts all spend the highest amount on residential (electricity and home heating) energy per year (source: How Much Do You Spend?)
- The majority of nuclear energy production in the United States takes place in states along the East Coast. Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are among those that have nuclear power plants. (Source: How Much Energy Does Your State Produce?)
- In addition to being a major producer of natural gas, Texas produces the most amount of wind energy in all the states. It is followed by California which is home to the Alta Wind Center, the United States’ largest wind farm. (Source: Wind Farms Through the Years)
- According to Mr. Wood, Biofuels, which are fuels made from renewable items like ethanol from corn, algae, and other living things, are mostly produced in the agrarian states of Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa because of the high amount of agriculture grown there. (Source: How Much Energy Does Your State Produce?)
- Although Wyoming is the least populated state, it is the largest domestic producer of coal and produced over twice what the second largest producer, West Virginia, produced in 2013. Wyoming produced 34 million short tons while West Virginia produced 112.91. (Source: How Much Energy Does Your State Produce?)
Other maps created by the Department of Energy can be found here.