It’s Wednesday, October 17, and it’s getting windy and sunny in here!


The United States got 8 percent of its electricity from wind and solar last year, but some states went above and beyond. Ten states across the country generated more than 20 percent of their electricity from those clean sources, according to a new analysis by the U.S Energy Information Administration.

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Are blue states leading the pack? No, the top five renewable champions all went red in the 2016 election. Iowa generated 37 percent of its energy from wind last year, earning it the top spot on the list. The runners up are Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and North Dakota — all states in the Wind Belt, the breezy midsection of the country stretching across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains down to Texas.

The usual climate champs, Vermont and California, are Nos. 6 and 7 on the list. Solar makes up about half of Vermont’s clean electricity generation and more than two-thirds of California’s. While the Wind Belt’s renewable cred was driven mainly by market forces, these two states owe some of their success to the strong goals they’ve set. California recently promised to get to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2045, while Vermont aims for 75 percent renewable energy by 2032.

Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota round out the top 10. Others, including Hawaii and Texas, are on the verge of joining the exclusive 20 percent club, according to PV Magazine.

Lest you think the rest of the country runs on a diet of pure fossil fuels, keep in mind that there are other non-greenhouse gas sources out there. Hydropower, for example, makes up about two-thirds of Washington state’s electricity generation.

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Kate Yoder

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