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New 2012 data show that 3 states used 23% of U.S. electricity


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This week, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its latest Electric Power Annual report, with data through the end of 2012.

According to this organization, Texas, California, and Florida topped the nation in total electricity sales. Of the almost 3.7 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in retail states throughout the United States in 2012, almost 10% was sold in Texas. An additional 7% and 6% were solar in California and Florida, respectively.

These data released in the report were also included in the EIA’s new “Electricity Data Browser” – an interactive online system for accessing generation, fuel consumption, electricity sales and revenue, and average price information. Using this tool, users can view data points over time on a plant-level basis (in some cases)

Melissa C. Lott About the Author: An engineer and researcher who works at the intersection of energy, environment, technology, and policy. Follow on Twitter @mclott.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. TTLG 11:40 am 12/15/2013

    Not an especially useful analysis, since most of the states with the largest consumption also have the largest populations. What would be more interesting is a per capita consumption by state.

    Link to this
  2. 2. N a g n o s t i c 3:10 pm 12/15/2013

    I think the main point of this article was to put a big black splotch on Texas. Sciam has a thing about Texas.

    Link to this
  3. 3. Uncle.Al 3:50 pm 12/15/2013

    Per capita is the relevant statistic. New York City is a pig for energy, New York State is largely rural other than Great Lake trade and Albany’s industrious corruption.

    Where goes energy consumption so goes civilization. If you want to know who is making stuff, track sulfuric acid. If you want to know who is dying, count pages in the national tax code.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Poj 7:50 pm 12/15/2013

    Per capita would be the info that would be most revealing. I wonder if that data will be released?

    Link to this
  5. 5. Tschirhart 11:05 pm 12/15/2013

    How about looking at electrical use against state GDP, state Population? Certainly there are many ways to compare these numbers rather than just looking a raw usage!

    Link to this
  6. 6. phalaris 2:43 am 12/16/2013

    Another interesting thing would be where the electricity goes. I’ve heard it said that air-conditioning was the making of Texas. There could be an indication here of the chances of reducing global consumption in the long term: there are many places where it’s quite rare at the moment but possibly they’d love to have it.

    Link to this
  7. 7. jafrates 2:46 am 12/16/2013

    There’s a 235-page report linked in the first paragraph. In it is a great deal of information, including the end use by sector (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation, plus a total) for 2011 and 2012 for each state. Tables include quantity and percentage by state. Other information includes power generated (overall and by source), costs, and a lot of other things I don’t have time to type out.

    For those who are interested, it’s not hard to drop the data into a spreadsheet, add in a column with the populations for each state, and put together a little math.

    Link to this
  8. 8. jtdwyer 7:57 am 12/16/2013

    jafrates,
    Thanks for your sensible and helpful comment!
    The second link: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/ is a flexible app for selecting and displaying the data. The default chart, for example, shows that the use of natural gas for electricity generation has been increasing since at least 2000, while the use of coal has been decreasing only for the past ~5 years.
    . The app offers the ability to download selected data in .csv format, which can be imported into spreadsheets. The U.S. Census Bureau offers a wealth of population data at http://www.census.gov/
    Still, properly analyzing all this data would definitely be a non-trivial task!

    I haven’t found any evidence of a SA conspiracy against Texas, however…
    <%)

    Link to this
  9. 9. OgreMk5 9:22 am 12/16/2013

    Let me just say that Texas, the last few years, has been in the middle of a horrid drought and some massive heat waves. Turning the AC off for the winter months has dropped my electricity bill by over 66% (and that’s with the AC set to 80 all day).

    When you have 45 straight days with air temps above 110…

    I’m not saying it’s right, that’s just the way it is.

    Link to this
  10. 10. Steve D 9:11 pm 12/18/2013

    One more for the cartographic Hall of Shame. Make the cutoffs rational (100,000, 200,000 and 300,000 will work nicely). At least the shades work fairly well, but would it hurt to use different hues for each level, say blue, green, yellow, red in ascending order?

    Link to this
  11. 11. simkatu 11:58 am 12/19/2013

    @Uncle.Al – Per capita energy usage is lowest in California. Followed by Hawaii, Rhode Island, and New York. Texas is higher than 28 states. Wyoming, Kentucky, and DC have the highest per capita usage of electricity.

    Link to this
  12. 12. simkatu 11:59 am 12/19/2013

    @Poj – Try this link: http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/us_per_capita_electricity-2010.html

    Link to this
  13. 13. Dallas75216 3:27 pm 12/19/2013

    Texas summers can reach a high around 107 with 60 days at 100 or better.
    Homes need to be better insulated against the heat.
    Many homes have single pane windows without heat glaze.
    Many new homes use electric heat.
    New apartments use electric stoves.

    In New Jersey many people use oil or gas to heat their homes. In homes built prior to the current periods there was no insulation and single pane glass.
    I know because I grew up in a home built in 1860.
    We used fans in summer until the 1970s.

    So the function of BTUs consumed per capita by state may be of better use

    Also give examples on how to cut electric usage by insulation, neon bulbs and energy efficient windows
    also compact fluorescent bulbs, and LED bulbs.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Wayne Williamson 5:13 pm 12/21/2013

    Did nobody notice the typo in the article where “6 percent of solar” should have read six percent sold.

    Link to this

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