13 2 28 17 10 15 14 7 34 32 4 28 23 36 31 24 26 19 3 6 12 25 27 35 33 9 21 22 8 43 20 38 30 39 41 44 18 11 1 5 45 40 46 48 47 37 49 50 42 16
REDDING, CA - JULY 19:  Lake Shasta, California's largest water reservoir feeding the Sacramento River, is at 46% capacity and at historically low levels impacting tourism and agriculture on July 19, 2015, in Redding, California. After entering the fourth year of drought, reservoir levels continue to flucuate at low, Governor Jerry "Edmund" Brown has declared a "mandatory reduction" on water useage for all of California. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

(George Rose/Getty Images)

Energy Rankings

Measuring states' energy infrastructure


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A thick layer of fog rolls over the Mississippi River toward Dubuque, Iowa, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. (Dave Kettering/Telegraph Herald via AP)

Iowa Is No. 1


[RELATED: Iowa Is No. 1]

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 OR 13 17 1
#2 Washington WA 2 25 2
#3 South Dakota SD 28 6 4
#4 Nebraska NE 17 1 10
#5 Iowa IA 10 15 6
#6 North Dakota ND 15 3 11
#7 Montana MT 14 30 5
#8 Nevada NV 7 5 15
#9 Arizona AZ 34 2 21
#10 Minnesota MN 32 14 12
#11 Idaho ID 4 43 7
#12 Colorado CO 28 11 26
#13 Illinois IL 23 8 35
#14 Wisconsin WI 36 7 23
#15 Florida FL 31 9 30
#16 Alabama AL 24 28 13
#17 Missouri MO 26 10 40
#18 New Mexico NM 19 21 33
#19 Oklahoma OK 3 41 16
#20 Wyoming WY 6 36 24
#21 Utah UT 12 22 44
#22 Georgia GA 25 31 20
#23 South Carolina SC 27 29 27
#24 Kansas KS 35 35 14
#25 Pennsylvania PA 33 20 41
#26 Texas TX 9 34 43
#27 Indiana IN 21 32 36
#28 Tennessee TN 22 38 25
#29 Kentucky KY 8 37 42
#30 New York NY 43 12 19
#31 North Carolina NC 20 40 28
#32 Delaware DE 38 23 50
#33 Ohio OH 30 33 45
#34 Maryland MD 39 24 39
#35 New Jersey NJ 41 13 46
#36 California CA 44 19 18
#37 Virginia VA 18 42 31
#38 Mississippi MS 11 44 34
#39 Louisiana LA 1 45 49
#40 Arkansas AR 5 47 17
#41 New Hampshire NH 45 39 9
#42 Maine ME 40 49 3
#43 Rhode Island RI 46 4 47
#44 Connecticut CT 48 16 38
#45 Massachusetts MA 47 27 37
#46 Michigan MI 37 46 29
#47 Alaska AK 49 26 48
#48 Hawaii HI 50 18 22
#49 Vermont VT 42 48 8
#50 West Virginia WV 16 50 32

Electricity Price

This assesses the average retail price of electricity in cents per kilowatt hour, a common measure of energy consumption. Residential, commercial, industrial, transportation and other sectors were averaged to determine a state's 2016 electricity costs. Half of the states with the lowest electricity costs were in the Southeast and Southwest; at about 7 cents per kilowatt hour, Louisiana boasted the cheapest electricity costs. In Hawaii, the No. 50 state for the price of electricity, each kilowatt hour cost about 24 cents, though that rate has dropped by nearly 10 cents since 2012, the largest decrease of any state.

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.

Renewable Energy Usage

This metric measures the percentage of energy use in 2015 that came from renewable sources, including hydroelectric power, biomass, geothermal, solar and wind energies. Oregon, where nearly 50 percent of energy came from renewable sources, ranked No. 1 in this metric. Fellow Far West state Washington came in second, and the rest of the top 10 states for renewable energy consumption were mostly in New England and the Rocky Mountains. The worst state for renewable energy usage was Delaware, where less than 3 percent of energy came from renewable sources. In the U.S. overall, nearly 10 percent of energy usage was from renewable sources. The Far West had the greatest share of renewable energy, while the Great Lakes had the least.