Have you been lying in bed at night wondering where your electricity comes from? Just in case, NPR developed this incredibly informative interactive map showing the location and energy source of all electricity in the United States.
Some points of interest on the map: Look at the areas with the largest solar capacity, then click over to the areas that are the windiest–I was blown away (sorry) by the lack of overlap which, just to clarify, is a good thing because it means there’s a renewable source of electricity for everyone. In some areas, like Northern California, we’re doubly blessed with high winds and big solar gain, yet wind and solar together comprise less than 3% of our total mix.
NPR also points out that, in the areas that are best for solar, one measly square foot can generate 260 kilowatt-hours a year (enough to power an Energy Star dishwasher for a year). We have a moratorium on new nuclear plants in California and are going to lose hydroelectric capacity as the snow pack disappears. Since utilities finally seem to grasp what most of learned in third grade about the finite nature of fossil fuels, the development of a massive renewable energy infrastructure is inevitable. No time like the present.