2015/2016 Wind & Solar: SK compared with Top-15 US States

The chart shows the US now generates more than twice as much of their electricity from wind and solar (6.5 percent) as Saskatchewan (2.9 percent).

Only six months ago - at the end of 2015 - Iowa became the first US state to generate more than 30 percent of their annual  electricity using wind turbines (31 percent). Nonetheless the Hawkeye state is already well past that point: in the 12 months to end June wind generated more than 35 percent of total electricity.

Wind and solar. Wind dominates with 5.3 percent of US electricity vs. 1.3 percent for solar. Nonetheless solar is growing rapidly and in some states in particular: of note is California where solar now generates 12 percent of the state's electricity and, notably, more than nuclear. Both California and Hawaii (9.7 percent) now generate more of their electricity from solar than from wind.

Source: US Energy Information Administration: Electric Power Monthly. SaskPower data for 12 months to end 2015 (ex SaskPower Annual Report)

Wind: Sask Compared w/ US & Top-12 States 2006 vs. 2015/2016

Source: US Energy Information Administration: Electric Power Monthly. AWEA Year End Wind Capacity by State. * 2016 US data are for 12 months prior to April 2016. ** Saskatchewan data are for 12 months prior to end 2015.

This chart takes a look at the leading US wind states, at the end of April 2016, and compares their wind usage with that 10 years earlier (at the end of 2006). The intent is to show the speed of the wind transition which has been achieved in the US: in other words - what is possible here in Saskatchewan.

The chart shows that the use of wind energy, at 2.9 percent, has not changed at all in Saskatchewan in 10 years. Over that time period it has risen from 0.6 percent of US generation to 5.1 percent today - an increase of 750 percent.

Particularly impressive is South Dakota which has increased its use of wind over the period by 1,740 percent from 1.5 percent of total generation in 2006 to 27.6 percent today.

Of particular note is our neighbour North Dakota. Wind use there has grown from less than in Saskatchewan in 2006 (2.1 percent) to 18 percent today and it has done that in a state with a very similar wind regime and equally low winter temperatures, to ours.  

How does the rate of increase in wind usage seen in these leading states compare with Saskatchewan's plans for 2030? Check this blog post (spoiler: Sask's 25 year transition to 22 percent is OK but hardly impressive).

All forms of generation: by US state


..and if you are after more detailed state-specific information: try this excellent interactive by the Washington Post Information Graphics team ('Mapping How the United States Generates its Electricity' Jul 2015). Select whichever generation type you want and it will then show its usage, by state, in order. Pretty nifty! (N.B.: the data is for January to May 2015 hence may be slightly different than what is shown in the previous charts)