Major manufacturers in the wind industry have set up shop in Arkansas in recent years, creating thousands of jobs
If Arkansas lives up to its nickname as the Land of Opportunity, homegrown energy could power every single home in the state, with wattage to spare. However, Arkansas remains in the small minority of states without a renewable portfolio standard, which would drive investment in homegrown renewable energy development. Much of Arkansas' renewable energy potential lies in the rich farmlands of the Mississippi Delta region, which could provide renewable fuels for biomass power plants and advanced biofuels for cars. Major manufacturers in the wind industry have set up shop in the state in recent years, creating thousands of jobs. With the proper mix of incentives in place, Arkansas could further develop its renewable energy potential.
Florida is in the minority of states that have yet to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard
Florida has one of the highest rates of home electricity consumption in the country, due in no small part to the need for air conditioning. But the source of Florida’s heat is also its most promising source of renewable energy – sunshine. Florida's climate also bodes well for fast-growing energy crops such as sugarcane and sweet sorghum. With 47,500 farms, Florida could become an important producer of biofuels. Despite this potential, Florida is in the minority of states that have yet to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard, which would encourage the growth of clean energy by requiring utilities to generate a certain percentage of their power from renewable sources.
Indiana's coal-fired power plants, which produce 95 percent of the state’s electricity, are some of the dirtiest in the nation. Nearly half the coal Indiana uses is imported from out of state. But Indiana can turn this bleak picture around by harvesting energy resources from its nearly 15 million acres of farmland, 3.6 million hogs and pigs, and 850,000 cattle and dairy cows. The state’s challenge will be to move away from corn ethanol, which requires vast amounts of water, land, and energy, to more advanced cellulosic ethanol.
Researchers estimate that the wind energy industry alone could create 25,000 jobs Michigan by 2025
In 2007, Michigan spent $37 billion on petroleum, coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel. Most of that money left the state entirely. Developing homegrown renewable energy– such as offshore wind -- can help keep energy dollars at home, and drive Michigan's economic transformation while providing clean, reliable, inexpensive power for consumers and businesses. Researchers estimate that the wind energy industry alone could create 25,000 jobs here by 2025.
Missouri's conventional fuel resources are slim, and energy dollars are streaming out of the state. Eighty-two percent of the state’s electricity comes from coal, nearly all of it shipped from Wyoming. But the state’s large tracts of windy land and fertile soil, located relatively close to dense, energy-consuming urban centers, put Missouri in a prime position to become a national leader in renewable energy. Studies show that a local renewable energy industry in Missouri would create tens of thousands of jobs and provide substantial new sources of income for farmers.
Each year Montanans spend $4.7 billion on petroleum, natural gas, and coal
Montanans are some of the biggest energy users in the country -- the state ranks ninth in the country in per capita energy consumption -- but most of Montana's energy dollars are literally going up in smoke. Each year Montanans spend $4.7 billion on petroleum, natural gas, and coal. Fossil fuels dominate the energy landscape, but Montana has a wealth of renewable energy resources that remain under-developed. The state ranks third in the nation when it comes to potential wind energy, has vast acres of cropland which could be used to produce advanced biofuels, and at least 15 potential geothermal sites. Montana could become a key supplier of renewable energy -- as well the tools to produce it.
Renewable resources have the potential to transform Nebraska's energy supply. Currently about two-thirds of Nebraska's power is generated by coal, with most of the remainder coming from nuclear energy. But with open skies and more than 47,000 farms, Nebraska ranks near the top of the nation in its ability to generate energy from wind, cellulosic biomass, solar power, and biogas.
Nevada's renewable energy standard requires utilities to generate 6 percent of their power from solar energy by 2016
Flooded with more than 250 days of sunshine a year, Nevada has the greatest solar energy resources in the country, and has abundant wind and geothermal energy potential to boot. Developing Nevada's own energy resources could also be powerful tool for economic development, especially in rural areas where many have lost jobs. A UNLV study estimates that generating just 7 percent of Nevada's electricity from in-state renewable sources will create more than 2,500 jobs and generate $310 million in revenue each year. The state’s current renewable energy standard requires utilities to generate 6 percent of their power from solar energy by 2016.
North Dakota is already a major wind producer, generating 12 percent of its energy from wind in 2010
With its cold winters and energy-intensive industrial economy, North Dakota consumes more energy per person than most other states in the nation. Each year, North Dakotans shell out nearly $6,700 per person on petroleum products, natural gas and coal, and most of that money leaves the state. However, North Dakota’s vast areas of fertile land, strong, steady winds, and a stable and productive workforce give the state potential to become a national leader in producing clean energy. North Dakota is already a major wind producer, generating 12 percent of its energy from wind in 2010.
With a national clean-energy building boom, Ohio could see almost 23,000 additional jobs and $3.6 billion dollars of investment in manufacturing
Renewable resources have tremendous potential to transform Ohio's energy supply and boost the state's economy. Ohio is one of the biggest energy-consuming states in the nation, and relies on imported coal to generate nearly all of its electricity. But with its wide open skies and 75,000 farms, Ohio is prime territory for wind, solar power, biogas, and sustainably-sourced bioenergy development. Some 2,100 companies in Ohio are already involved in manufacturing components for renewable energy systems. With a national clean-energy building boom, Ohio could see almost 23,000 additional jobs and $3.6 billion dollars of investment in manufacturing.
The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority has invested upwards of $10 million each year since 2004 in clean energy projects
Though Pennsylvania has one of the nation's largest coal-mining industries and second-largest nuclear power fleet, the state has taken some important steps to develop its clean energy potential. Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, enacted in 2004, has one of the most ambitious solar provisions in the eastern United States, requiring that solar energy generate 0.5 percent of the commonwealth's electricity by 2020. The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority has invested upwards of $10 million each year since 2004 in clean energy projects. The projects selected for 2010 alone are expected to create 1,400 jobs and generate a lifetime energy savings of 10.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Pennsylvania’s 63,000 farms and 2.7 million livestock animals also hold promise for renewable energy, in the form of biofuels made from energy crops and biogas from livestock waste.
Investments in the solar and electric vehicle industries are expected to create nearly 17,000 jobs in Tennessee by 2014
In December 2008, a spill at a coal-fired power plant near Harriman, Tenn., sent a billion gallons of contaminated coal sludge spilling across the community and countryside, underscoring the urgency of switching to clean energy. Tennessee’s residents use more electricity per person than any other state in the nation. With more than 80,000 farms covering 11.4 million acres, Tennessee could become a leading producer of cellulosic ethanol, the biofuel of the future. The state is also throwing its weight behind a nascent solar industry, and will soon be home to one of the largest solar arrays in the southeast. Investments in the solar and electric vehicle industries are expected to create nearly 17,000 jobs in Tennessee by 2014.
In Virginia, renewable energy already employs more workers than coal
In Virginia, renewable energy already employs more workers than coal. Virginia has one of the nation's fastest-growing renewable energy economies, with clean energy jobs increasing at a rate of more than 8 percent a year, even during the recession. Energy efficiency and renewable energy alone account for more than 11,000 jobs.
NRDC chose the states spotlighted here because they have shown significant promise in developing renewable energy infrastructure. We will add additional states to this section over time