This year has been an eventful period in time with tremendous changes in politics, science, technology, and of course, energy. As our country continues to develop the resources from which we obtain our energy, let’s take a deeper look into how much energy we actually consume.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 1949, our country consumed a total of 255 billion kilowatthours. To a novice, this number may seem like a lot, but when compared to the 3,856 billion kilowatthours consumed in 2011, that statistic is inconceivable (1kWh roughly equals 3,412 Btu). So, who exactly is using all of this energy?! We did a bit more research and discovered the top 10 states that consume the most energy. (Please note that the most recent data supplied by the EIA comes from 2010).
With most of its energy produced from coal, the state of Indiana consumed a total of 442 million Btu. Chemical, aluminum, metal casting, glass, and steel manufacturers make up the state’s industrial sector, which uses more energy than the commercial and residential divisions combined.
With a population of roughly 4.3 million, Kentucky consumed 455 million Btu in 2010. Their main source of energy comes from its coal plants, which explains why it was the third greatest coal-producing state in 2011, supplying 10 percent of the total coal production in the U.S. Kentucky is actually one of the four states on this list that generates more energy than it consumes!
Nebraska produces energy from a variety of sources including coal, natural gas, nuclear electric power, hydroelectric power, and biomass. Consuming 461 million Btu, the population of Nebraska used roughly double the amount of energy the state was able to produce in 2010. Because of the state’s prime conditions for wind energy, coupled with the oil found in the Niobrara shale, Nebraska is poised to become a stronger producer of energy in the future.
7. South Dakota
Coming in at number seven, South Dakota consumes 465 million Btu and came in fifth in the country’s ethanol production in 2011. In the same year, it generated the most electricity from hydroelectric power. Other sources include coal, natural gas, and biomass.
Although Texas took the lead in crude oil production in 2011, the population of this southern state managed to consume 466 million Btu. One year prior, Texas became the first state to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity.
Consuming 489 million Btu brings Iowa to the number five spot on our countdown. Despite this large number, Iowa successfully provided 19 percent of their total electricity generation from wind energy in 2011. In the same year, the state managed to produce 27 percent of the nation’s ethanol.
4. North Dakota
North Dakota consumed 713 million Btu, a large jump from the amount Iowa consumed. As stated on the EIA website, “Although North Dakota’s total energy consumption is among the lowest in the nation due to its small population, the state’s consumption per capita ranks among the highest, due in part to the high heating demand in winter.”
The industrial sector of Louisiana accounted for more than 66 percent of their 894 million Btu consumption. With Louisiana’s 18 operating refineries, it was one of the leaders in total refinery capacity in 2010. Accordingly, most of the state’s energy comes from petroleum and natural gas.
With the majority of its energy being developed from petroleum liquids, Alaska consumed roughly 899 million Btu. “Alaska’s electricity infrastructure differs from that of the lower 48 states in that most consumers are not linked to large interconnected grids through transmission and distribution lines; rural communities in Alaska rely primarily on diesel electric generators for power,” according to the EIA.
The 948 million Btu of energy consumed by the transportation, industrial, and commercial divisions in Wyoming make it the most energy hungry state. Although it has the smallest population, Wyoming produced over 40 percent of all the coal mined in the U.S. in 2011.
Clearly, the U.S. uses an astonishing amount of energy each year. To put these numbers in perspective, the EIA has estimated the amount of electricity consumed globally at 500 quadrillion Btu. Even though our country accounts for less than five percent of the world’s population, all 50 states combined use nearly one fifth of this supply!
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.