Plant capacity by power source

50

500

2000

5000MW

Natural Gas

Coal

Nuclear

Hydroelectric

Oil

Wind

Solar

Other

Plant capacity by power source

Oil

Coal

Natural Gas

Nuclear

Hydroelectric

Wind

Solar

Other

50

500

2000

5000MW

Wash.

Mont.

Maine

N.D.

Ore.

Minn.

Vt.

N.H.

Wis.

S.D.

Mass.

Idaho

N.Y.

R.I.

Wyo.

Mich.

Conn.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Ohio

Nev.

Md.

Ind.

Ill.

Del.

Utah

Colo.

W.Va.

Va.

Calif.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Okla.

Ariz.

Ark.

N.M.

S.C.

Ga.

Miss.

Ala.

La.

Tex.

Alaska

Fla.

Hawaii

Plant capacity by power source

50

2000

5000MW

500

Wash.

Mont.

Maine

N.D.

Ore.

Minn.

Vt.

N.H.

Wis.

S.D.

Mass.

Idaho

N.Y.

R.I.

Wyo.

Mich.

Conn.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Natural Gas

Ohio

Nev.

Md.

Ind.

Ill.

Del.

Utah

Coal

Colo.

W.Va.

Va.

Calif.

Kan.

Nuclear

Mo.

Ky.

Hydroelectric

N.C.

Tenn.

Okla.

Oil

Ariz.

Ark.

N.M.

S.C.

Wind

Ga.

Miss.

Ala.

Solar

La.

Tex.

Other

Alaska

Fla.

Hawaii

Plant capacity by power source

50

500

2000

5000MW

Wash.

Mont.

Maine

N.D.

Ore.

Minn.

Vt.

N.H.

Wis.

S.D.

Mass.

Idaho

N.Y.

R.I.

Wyo.

Mich.

Conn.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Natural Gas

Ohio

Nev.

Md.

Ind.

Ill.

Del.

Utah

Coal

Colo.

W.Va.

Nuclear

Va.

Calif.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

Hydroelectric

N.C.

Oil

Tenn.

Okla.

Wind

Ariz.

Ark.

N.M.

S.C.

Solar

Ga.

Other

Miss.

Ala.

La.

Tex.

Alaska

Fla.

Hawaii

Share of U.S. electricity generation

50%

Natural gas

Coal

Nuclear

Hydroelectric

Oil

Wind

0%

Solar

2001

2016

President Trump signed in March orders to reverse the previous administration’s energy policies, a move that he framed as “an end to the war on coal” and that comes amid a drop in the fuel’s use. Natural gas surpassed coal last year as the most common source for electricity generation in the United States, according to a Post analysis of preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration. Coal was responsible for a majority of electricity generation at the start of the century and was still the source for nearly half in 2008 but has fallen steadily, accounting for 30 percent last year. Natural gas powered 34 percent of the country's electricity last year, passing coal as well as nuclear.

Local electric utilities take advantage of nearby resources — rivers in the Northwest, wind in the Midwest, coal in the Appalachian region, natural gas in the North — to generate the bulk of the nation’s electricity. This shows the source of electricity generation in each state according to preliminary 2016 data.

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Natural gas
Coal
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Hydro
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Solar
Oil
Other

Natural gas-powered electric plants

There are 1,793 natural gas-powered electricity plants in the United States. They generated 34 percent of the nation's electricity last year.

Advances and expansion of fracking in the past decade have unlocked vast supplies of natural gas from shale deposits all over the country. The fuel is the primary source of electricity generation in 19 states and provides at least 50 percent of the electricity in nine states.

Coal

There are 400 coal-powered electric plants in the United States. They generated 30 percent of the nation's electricity last year.

Coal was the chief source of electrical generation in 19 states and the second most common source in another nine. Coal is most popular in the East, south of New York. Coal still accounted for at least 50 percent of generation in 13 states.

Nuclear

There are 61 nuclear electric plants in the United States. They generated 20 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

New nuclear plants are coming online following decades of pause after an initial push in the 1970s and 1980s driven by the first oil shock. Maryland joined South Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire in getting a plurality of its power from nuclear last year. Twenty states have no nuclear electricity generation at all.

Hydro

There are 1,444 hydroelectric plants in the United States. They generated 7 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

It’s a feast-or-famine source. Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Idaho lead the nation in power from hydroelectric plants, getting between 56 percent and 68 percent of their electricity from them. But Montana and South Dakota were the only other states where they were responsible for more than 5 percent of electricity. Government-run plants generate most of the power.

Wind

There are 999 wind-powered electric plants in the United States. They generated 6 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

Wind is the fastest-growing power source, finding a home in the Great Plains, where wind blows reliably across wide open spaces. Iowa got more than one-third of its power from wind, followed by Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota, which each got more than a quarter of their electricity from windmills. Wind is not the leading source of electric power anywhere but ranks second in seven states.

Solar

There are 1,721 solar-powered electric plants in the United States. They generated 1 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

Solar power is predominantly used in the Southwest, where the sun shines the most. The growth of solar has created plants in all but eight states. California gets almost 10 percent of its electricity from solar, and Nevada gets more than 6 percent. Vermont and Arizona follow with 4 percent each.

Oil

There are 1,076 oil-powered electric plants in the United States. They generated just over half of 1 percent of the nation’s electricity last year.

Petroleum is no longer a popular source for electricity generation. After the rise of OPEC and the oil shocks and price increases of the 1970s, utilities switched to other fuels, mostly coal. Hawaii gets two-thirds of its electricity from oil, the only state where it is the leading energy source.

Originally published July 31, 2015

Note: Other sources include petroleum coke, other gasses, biomass and geothermal.

Source: Washington Post analysis of Energy Information Administration

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