Best States for Energy

Energy Rankings: Measuring states' energy infrastructure

Energy represents one-third of the weight in ranking the Best States for infrastructure. This subcategory evaluates three major metrics: renewable energy usage, reliability of power grids and the average cost of electricity. Metrics were evaluated using the most recent data from the Department of Energy. Most of the energy consumed in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas, while about 10 percent of energy consumption comes from renewable sources. In 2016, 29 percent of all energy usage was in transportation, while 6 percent came from the residential sector and just 4 percent from the commercial category, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oregon, which ranks No. 1 in energy, comes in third for infrastructure. Five of the top 10 states for energy also rank in the top 10 Best States overall: Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska and North Dakota. And West Virginia, which is the worst state for energy, is also one of the poorest-performing states overall, coming in at No. 47. Montana, however, falls in the bottom half of states for infrastructure despite being top 10 states for energy.

Best States for Energy

Energy Rank State Electricity Price Power Grid Reliability Renewable Energy Usage
#1 Oregon 13 17 1
#2 Washington 2 25 2
#3 South Dakota 28 6 4
#4 Nebraska 17 1 10
#5 Iowa 10 15 6
#6 North Dakota 15 3 11
#7 Montana 14 30 5
#8 Nevada 7 5 15
#9 Arizona 34 2 21
#10 Minnesota 32 14 12

Power Grid Reliability

The Department of Energy measures the number of minutes of power outages each customer experiences on average every year. Excluding major events, customers in both Nebraska and Arizona experienced less than an hour of power outages in 2016. With 439 minutes – or more than seven hours – of hours of power outages in 2016, West Virginia was the No. 50 state in reliability of power grids, far exceeding No. 49 Maine's nearly four and a half hours, or 264 minutes. The Southeast had the greatest power disturbance by far, with an average of more than two hours per customer, while the average for the Great Plains region was only 86 minutes.

Best States for Power Grid Reliability


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