Apr 3, 2024 - Energy & Environment

America's solar and wind energy hotspots, mapped

Energy generated by solar and wind, 2023
Data: Climate Central; Note: Includes both utility-scale and small-scale solar generation; Map: Axios Visuals

California, Texas and Florida are leading the country in terms of solar power generation, while Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma are the leaders in wind energy, per a new analysis.

Why it matters: Solar and wind power are producing a comparatively small but growing share of America's overall energy supply — yet they make up a bigger slice of the energy pie in some states compared to others.

The big picture: Solar installations generated nearly 240,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity across the U.S. in 2023, per the analysis from Climate Central, a climate research nonprofit.

  • That's up 8X compared to 2014, the group says.
  • Wind generation hit about 425,000 GWh last year — double that of a decade ago.

Context: "Together, these two renewable energy sources generated enough electricity in 2023 to power the equivalent of more than 61 million average American homes," per Climate Central.

Data: Climate Central; Note: Includes both utility-scale and small-scale solar generation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Zoom in: In California, 68,816 GWh of electricity came from solar power in 2023, up 9% from 2022.

  • Texas solar installations generated 31,739 GWh (up 25% from 2022), while Florida produced 17,809 GWh (up 33%).

Meanwhile, Texas wind turbines generated 119,836 GWh of electricity in 2023, up 4% from 2022.

  • Iowa produced 41,869 GWh (actually a drop, of -9%) and Oklahoma had 37,731 GWh (flat, at 0%).

What they're saying: "These data — combined with federal capacity forecasts — show how renewable energy growth is driving America's progress toward net-zero carbon emissions targets in the U.S.," reads Climate Central's report.

💬 Alex's thought bubble: Geography plays a role here — solar and wind power obviously make more sense in sunnier and breezier regions, respectively — as do state policies and incentives.

Between the lines: A big part of the wind and solar boom is being driven by private equity investment, per Axios Pro: Climate Deals' Alan Neuhauser.

Reality check: Wind and solar projects haven't been without their issues.

Yes, but: Major projects are still coming online.

  • New York, for instance, recently flipped the switch on its first offshore wind farm, some 35 miles off Long Island's Montauk Point.

What's next: Energy from wind and solar installations is expected to outpace coal-fired electricity this year, as Axios Generate's Ben Geman has reported.

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