Which states could supply their own electricity using renewable energy alone? Most of them. Using data from the recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, the New Rules Project put together this map, showing the percentage of its own electricity needs that each state could generate with onshore and offshore wind power, hydroelectric and geothermal power, and rooftop photovoltaics.
The plains states, with their lower electricity needs and high winds, are great for turbines. The Atlantic Coast is great for offshore wind, and the western states have great solar power potential. Combine these all and we could provide electricity to the whole country many times over.And these numbers don't represent the theoretical potential for renewables. We're not imagining how much electricity we could get if we blanket the land in turbines and PV panels. They represent the commercial limits. For more on the methodology, see this study.The moral of the story: We have lots of renewable energy potential-more than enough to supply the entire country's electricity needs. And it's nice we're starting to develop these resources. Wind power, especially, is taking off. BP, for example, is building three new wind farms in 2010 and 2011, and they expect wind power to become profitable within that window.