Apr 11, 2024 - News

Arkansas' renewable energy generation lags U.S. overall

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

There's nothing like a total solar eclipse to illustrate the massive impact the Sun has on our daily activities.

Why it matters: Solar and wind power are producing a growing share of America's overall energy supply, although that portion is bigger in some states than others, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.

Zoom in: Arkansas generated 1,200 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from solar power in 2023, up from 966 in 2022 and only 5 GWh a decade before.

  • No significant electricity from wind is generated in the state.
Energy generated by solar and wind, 2023
Data: Climate Central; Note: Includes both utility-scale and small-scale solar generation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Solar installations supplied nearly 240,000 GWh of electricity across the U.S. in 2023, per Climate Central, a research nonprofit.

  • That's eight times more than in 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.

Between the lines: California, Texas and Florida lead the country in solar power generation; Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma are the leaders in wind energy.

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

💬 Alex Fitzpatrick'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.

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

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

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