Variance in Energy Infrastructure by US State

State Similarity Index - Infrastructure Category - Energy

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar US states are to each other. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on infrastructure. 16.66% of a state’s technology score (3.33% of the overall State Similarity Index score) is allocated for the state’s energy infrastructure. The following factors were included in the calculation:

Energy Usage

Louisiana uses the most energy per capita in the United States. It has a high concentration of energy-intensive industries, such as oil and gas production, refining, and petrochemical manufacturing. As a result, energy consumption compared to its overall population is higher than other states.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii uses the least amount of energy per capita. Unlike Louisiana it does not have any energy-intensive industries. Furthermore, Hawaii’s tropical climate, moderated by the Pacific Ocean, makes the state’s residents have little need for heating or cooling their homes.

The source of the energy usage data:
U.S. Energy Information Administration

States were categorized into the following groups by energy usage in million BTUs per capita:
195-230, 230-265, 265-300, 300-335, 335-370, 370-470, 470-570, 570-670, 670-770, 770-870, 870-970

Electrical Source

There are vast differences between the way electricity is generated in each state. Nearly all the electricity in West Virginia is created by coal power. In Delaware, natural gas is by far the largest source of electricity. Hawaii is the only state where oil power is a major source of electricity.

However, some states do not rely on fossil fuels. A majority of the power in some states, like South Carolina and New Hampshire, is generated by nuclear energy. Hydropower is the biggest source of electricity in Washington. Iowa and Kansas also produce a huge amount of electricity from the wind.

Map: The Most Common Electrical Sources per State

The source of the electrical generation data:
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Energy sources included the following types:
Coal, Natural Gas, Geothermal, Hydro, Nuclear, Oil, Solar, Wind, Wood

Electrical Grid

The United States electrical grid is divided into three main parts: the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection, and the Texas Interconnection. The Eastern Interconnection covers the eastern half of the United States and parts of Canada. It serves a population of over 200 million people, so it is divided up into four regional reliability entities. The Western Interconnection serves the western half of the United States. Finally, the Texas Interconnection covers most of the state of Texas and operates independently from the other two interconnections. It is not subject to federal regulations or oversight in the same way as the other two interconnections.

The source of the electrical grid map:
North American Electric Reliability Corporation

Electrical grids and regional reliability entities:
West: WECC
Texas: Texas RE

Heating Source

Most buildings in the United States are either heated by natural gas or electricity. In general, the warmer the state, the more likely buildings use electrical heating instead of gas. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are one area of the country that is an exception to the rule. They tend to use more fuel oil, propane, and wood to heat their houses. Since Hawaii has a tropical climate, most homes do not have heating.

The source of the house heating data:

Heating types include:
Electric, Gas, Propane, Oil, Wood, None

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