Ranking the top 10 energy-producing states in the U.S. is easy. In fact, the Energy Information Administration provides annual rankings for raw production output and per capita expenditures. But if you’ve spent any time working in the energy sector you quickly realize that energy output, while important, is just one facet of our larger energy infrastructure, and if you want to determine a particular state’s influence relative to other states you must consider a host of other factors. These include the capacity to transform and transport energy, the cost of consuming it and the public policies in place that help or hurt a state’s ability to fully harness energy.
Realizing this, we recently created the United States of Energy, an interactive map of the country that gives the most comprehensive breakdown available of each state’s energy resources, market, infrastructure and policy. From there, we could rank each state within these categories and, in aggregate, determine the state’s true influence within the energy sector.
So here are the 10 most influential energy states in the U.S. when measured by the above criteria, ordered alphabetically:
Arkansas is one of the top 10 natural gas producers in the nation. The Fayetteville Shale — an unconventional natural gas reservoir located on the Arkansas side of the Arkoma Basin — accounts for nearly all of the state’s natural gas production. Several major natural gas pipelines from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma pass through the state on the way to markets in the Midwest and Northeast. Unlike most other states, it does not have a renewable portfolio standard.
A central location and well-developed infrastructure make Illinois a key transportation hub for crude oil and natural gas moving throughout North America. The state features more than a dozen interstate natural gas pipelines, two natural gas market centers, several petroleum and petroleum product pipelines and an oil port. Its fossil fuel resources include substantial coal reserves under nearly two-thirds of the state and modest crude oil reserves in the southern half of the state.
State law requires that all investor-owned electric utilities and retail electricity suppliers obtain 25 percent of their retail sales from renewable resources by 2026.
Kentucky has more coal mines than any other state and has been ranked as one of the top three coal-producing states for several decades. More than nine-tenths of Kentucky’s electricity is generated from coal—a higher percentage than any state except West Virginia. The state has no renewable energy standard or goals.
Louisiana contains abundant fossil fuel deposits beneath its thick onshore and offshore deltaic sediments. Production of crude oil peaked in the early 1970s, but the state ranks among the top oil and natural gas-producing states in the nation. The state’s 19 oil refineries account for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity.
The Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, connects to four intrastate and nine interstate pipelines owned by various public and private operators. The hub provides access to major markets throughout the country and lends its name to the pricing point for natural gas futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
5) North Dakota
Crude oil production in North Dakota increased tenfold from 2003 to 2013, primarily as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking in the Bakken Shale. The state’s energy boom has transformed the state’s energy landscape and led to strong growth in employment and record low unemployment rates. The economic ripple effect of the boom is evident in neighboring states, as well.
North Dakota’s total energy consumption is among the lowest in the nation due to its small population. But the state’s consumption per capita ranks among the highest, in part because of the energy-intensive industrial sector and high heating demand in winter.
About one-third of Oklahoma‘s natural gas production is consumed within the state. The remaining supply is sent on to Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri. More than twice as much natural gas flows out of the state each year as flows into the state. It ranked fifth in crude oil production and fourth in natural gas production in the nation in 2013 (excluding federal offshore areas).
Oklahoma established and surpassed a renewable energy goal for the state’s electric utilities of 15 percent of total installed generation capacity from renewable sources by 2015.
Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top electricity-generating states, typically second only to Texas. Net electricity production regularly exceeds in-state consumption, and the state is an important supplier to the northeast region. The mining sector — including petroleum, natural gas and coal extraction — was the state’s fastest-growing economic sector between 2003 and 2013, with a compound annual growth rate of 20.5 percent. Natural gas provides heat to more Pennsylvania homes than any other fuel. It has historically depended on interstate pipelines from the Gulf Coast to supply natural gas, but Marcellus Shale production now allows the state to meet its own demand.
In fact, Pennsylvania now produces 2,369 trillion Btu in natural gas, followed by 1,391 trillion Btu in coal. The state has put in place requirements that, by 2020, 18 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources.
Texas leads the nation in total energy production — primarily crude oil and natural gas — and possesses almost one-third of the U.S. total crude oil reserves. It’s the only state within the lower 48 with a stand-alone electric grid entirely within its borders. The state also leads the nation in wind-powered electricity generation, with more than twice the installed capacity of California — the second highest state for wind power — and more than one-fifth of the U.S. total. It reached its renewable energy portfolio target 16 years ahead of schedule.
Washington has the most affordable electricity in the country, largely due to its hydroelectric dams. It was an early adopter of wind power, and wind turbines are now the state’s largest contributor to non-hydroelectric renewable generation.
Washington is one of only three states that enforce emissions standards for new or expanded power plants and for all electricity imported into the state. Almost half of its energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
10) West Virginia
West Virginia typically generates more electricity than it consumes and is a national leader in net interstate sales of electricity. Coal-fired power plants account for nearly all of the state’s electricity generation. In fact, it produces over 3,059 trillion Btu in coal-powered energy every year.
West Virginia recently became the first state to repeal its alternative and renewable energy portfolio standard and it’s one of the few that allows the statewide use of conventional motor gasoline.
To find out more about each state’s individual rankings and how they compare, visit USofEnergy.com.