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Which U.S. States Are Most Dependent On Fossil Fuels?

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Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered its starkest warning yet about the deepening climate emergency, saying a key temperature limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius could be broken in just over a decade in the absence of immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the report's findings as a "code red for humanity," saying they "must sound a death knell" for fossil fuels.

Back in April, the Biden Administration announced aggressive new greenhouse gas reduction goals to lower U.S. emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030. Meanwhile, nearly 40 states have already adopted renewable portfolio standards aimed at facilitating a transition away from fossil fuels.

However, the fact of the matter is that the United States remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and it’s going to be a real battle to wean the country from fossil fuels as the country’s primary energy source.

Indeed,  fossil fuels still represent more than 80% of primary energy consumption in the country, with every single state deriving at least 50% of its energy from fossil fuels.

Petroleum remains the leading source of energy in the United States, accounting for approximately one-third of energy consumed while energy consumption from natural gas has expanded dramatically over the last decade at the expense of coal thanks to the shale revolution.

Researchers at Commodity.com have used the most recent data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to calculate the percentage of total primary energy consumption from coal, natural gas, and petroleum.

Here are the states most dependent on fossil fuels.

State

Rank

Percentage of energy derived from fossil fuels

Percentage of energy derived from renewables

Total energy consumed from fossil fuels (trillion BTU)

Total energy consumed from renewables (trillion BTU)

Largest fossil fuel source

 

Delaware

    1

    96.4%

3.6%

213.1

8.0

Petroleum

Alaska

    2

    95.9%

4.1%

584.8

25.0

Natural Gas

West Virginia

    3

    95.4%

4.6%

1,103.3

53.7

Coal

Rhode Island

    4

    95.0%

5.0%

189.1

10.0

Natural Gas

Kentucky

    5

    94.1%

5.9%

1,616.5

102.1

Coal

Wyoming

    6

    93.5%

6.5%

793.2

54.9

Coal

Indiana

    7

    93.4%

6.6%

2,617.2

185.9

Coal

Utah

    8

    93.1%

6.9%

830.0

61.3

Petroleum

Louisiana

    9

    92.1%

3.7%

3,895.5

155.0

Petroleum

Texas

    10

    89.9%

7.1%

12,752.3

1,009.0

Petroleum

Ohio

    11

    89.7%

4.7%

3,040.2

158.6

Natural Gas

Hawaii

    12

    89.4%

10.6%

261.8

31.1

Petroleum

Colorado

    13

    88.8%

11.2%

1,305.1

164.6

Natural Gas

Mississippi

    14

    88.2%

6.1%

1,116.6

76.8

Natural Gas

Missouri

    15

    88.0%

5.9%

1,608.7

108.5

Coal

United States

    –

    80.5%

11.2%

81,238.0

11,281.6

Petroleum

Source: Global Trade

Top Market For Renewable Investments

When it comes to the global shift to low-carbon energy sources, Europe has traditionally been viewed as the world leader while the United States has frequently been regarded as an important albeit grudging participant. Over the past half-decade, China has also improved its stock in the fast-growing market through a plethora of heavy investments especially in solar and wind.

Indeed, the Green Future Index--a proprietary tool by MIT scientists that ranks 76 leading countries and territories on their progress and commitment toward building a low carbon future--confirms that the world’s biggest carbon-emitting nations have badly lagged their peers in efforts to tackle a “global climate emergency.” The overall rankings tab shows the performance of the examined economies relative to each other and aggregates scores generated across the following five pillars: Carbon emissions, Energy transition, Green society, Clean innovation and Climate policy.   

European nations dominate the top ranks, claiming 8 positions in the Top 10.

The Index ranks the United States a lowly 40th with a score of 4.7; China 45th with a score of 4.5 while Russia nearly brings up the rear with a score of 2.9 ranking it 73rd.

But it’s not all doom and gloom,  and the United States’ clean energy landscape is about to get a complete makeover under the new administration.

Just months after president Biden rejoined the Paris Climate accord, global energy market navel-gazer IHS Markit ranked the United States as the most attractive market for renewable energy investments in the world.

The United States claimed the top spot on the latest IHS Markit Global Renewables Markets Attractiveness Rankings mainly on account of sound market fundamentals and the availability of an attractive--though phasing down--support scheme. The survey tracked attractiveness for investment for non-hydro renewables such as solar PV, offshore wind and onshore wind. The ranking evaluates each country on the basis of seven subcategories that include market fundamentals, current policy framework, infrastructure readiness, investor friendliness, revenue risks and return expectations, easiness to compete and the overall opportunity size for each market.

As expected, Europe again dominates the top echelons with Germany coming in at #2, France #4, Spain #5, and the Netherlands at #9. China has been ranked the third-best market for renewable energy investors while India is #6, Australia #7, Japan #8, and Brazil #10.

By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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