Environment & Science
2:07 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Check out the small green circle on Michigan in this energy map

Check this chart out. Interact with it.

The green circles hovering over each of the fifty states represents each state's green energy consumption, based on recent data from the Energy Information Administration. 

The map was created by Mother Jones, and is a visual aid to understand how much each state used solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy. 

Not surprisingly, Washington state's little green circle covers the whole thing, while Michigan's is about the size of an eraser head. 

Tim McDonnell reported that Washington, "where hydroelectric dams provide over 60% of the state's energy," used the most renewable energy in the country:

Hydro continued to be the overwhelmingly dominant source of renewable power consumed nationwide, accounting for 67% of the total, followed by wind with 25%, geothermal with 4.5% and solar with 3.5% The new EIA data is the latest official snapshot of how states nationwide make use of renewable power, from industrial-scale generation to rooftop solar panels, and reveals an incredible gulf between leaders like Washington, California, and Oregon, and states like Rhode Island and Mississippi that use hardly any.

Let's compare Michigan with two neighboring states in each division -- these figures are in billions of BTUs consumed.

Solar

  • Michigan used 1,196 in solar
  • Ohio used 807
  • and Indiana used 357.

Florida came in first with 65,989.

Wind

  • Michigan used 4,435 in wind,
  • Indiana used 31,921
  • and Ohio used 1,928.

Texas, the nation's leader in wind power used 298,805

Hydroelectric

  • Michigan used 13,188 in hydroelectric power,
  • Ohio used 3,728
  • and Indiana used 3,972.

Washington led the way, as we know, with  892,101.

Geothermal

  • Michigan used 5,088 in geothermal
  • Ohio used 3,372
  • and Indiana used 4,499.

California used 124,092.

These are raw usage numbers, so states with more population will use more energy in general. They could be broken down further to look 'per capita energy usage.'

Even though Michigan doesn't come close to first place, it makes it into the top 20 for solar, and geothermal usage.

McDonnell said that the reason for such vast disparities is due to the varying sizes of states' energy markets.

However, "how much sun shines or wind blows...is far less important than the marching orders passed down from statehouses to electric utilities," Rhone Resch said. Resch is the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association. 

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom