Conventional wisdom holds that green energy isn’t more prevalent because it’s too expensive. But the latest information on electricity rates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration points out flaws in that thinking.
Washington, for example, generates nearly 65 percent of its electricity from green sources – which Choose Energy defines as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal. That places it fourth among states using the most green power. Meanwhile, its residential rate for electricity is 9.35 cents per kilowatt hour, the nation’s fifth lowest rate (and 25 percent lower than the average U.S. rate of 12.47 cents/kWh).
Washington also has the nation’s lowest industrial electricity rate – 4.71 cents/kWh, 29.2 percent lower than the national average – and its 15th lowest commercial rates at 8.71 cents/kWh, 15.7 percent lower than the U.S. mean. The reason is obvious – Washington relies heavily on hydroelectric generation for nearly all its green power, and hydroelectric generation is widely recognized as the cheapest method of generation.
But Oklahoma also uses green sources – they’re responsible more than 37 percent of the state’s power – and has cheap rates – without relying on a heavy dose of hydroelectric generation. Its residential rates of 9.02 cents/kWh are the nation’s second-lowest (Louisiana and Arkansas residents pay 9.01 cents/kWh).
All that said, extensive use of green sources for electricity doesn’t always mean cheap rates, either. Vermont gets about 81 percent of its power from green sources, but it has the nation’s 43rd highest residential electricity rates – 18.06 cents/kWh, about 44.8 percent higher than the U.S. average.
Following are the 10 states that generate the highest percentage of their electricity from green sources, their price/kWh for residential electricity, and where that price ranks among the 50 states: