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California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado Top the Nation in Clean Energy Leadership

Clean Edge's second annual U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index, released today, provides the industry's most comprehensive and objective analysis and ranking of how all 50 states, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations that operate there, compare across the clean-energy spectrum.

According to Clean Edge’s assessment and ranking of more than 70 different indicators in technology, policy, and capital, the top 10 states in the nation are California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Vermont.

Key market indicators tracked by Clean Edge include total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid and electric vehicles on the road, clean-energy venture and patent activity, and policy regulations and incentives. The 2011 Leadership Index paints an important and insightful picture of the U.S. clean-energy landscape. Based on this analysis the bottom 10 states in this year’s rankings (placing 41st through 50th) are Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia. 

Highlights from this year’s research include:

  • Three states now generate more than 10 percent of their utility-scale electricity from wind, solar, and/or geothermal. Iowa leads the nation with 15.4 percent of its electricity now generated from wind power, followed by North Dakota (11.99 percent from wind) and California (10.06 percent from wind, solar, and geothermal).
  • Top-ranked California’s longtime commitment to clean energy has put the state far ahead of the pack in terms of technology deployment and capital creation. The state’s burgeoning clean-energy industry brings in more venture capital than all other states combined.
  • Idaho leads the U.S. in clean electricity as a percentage of its total generation – at an astounding 84 percent – when you include hydro and biomass. Other states that get more than 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources including hydro and biomass are Washington (71.59 percent), South Dakota (65 percent), and Oregon (63.84 percent).
  • Oklahoma had more new EVs registered last year than any other state, but the number is somewhat misleading. Two of the nation’s largest rental car agencies register their vehicles in Oklahoma, accounting for the state’s high ranking for EV registrations in 2010. Without that statistical anomaly, California is the nation’s EV leader.
  • Michigan held the top spot in clean-energy patents for 2010 with 192 patents. Leading the charge is General Motors, which is reinventing itself as a sustainable transportation leader. GM received more clean-energy patents last year than any other company in the U.S., with 135 patents registered in 2010.
  • Mississippi, which ranks in the bottom 10 of the overall Leadership Index, is aggressively pursuing clean-tech manufacturing as it aims to garner its share of the clean-tech market. In the past year, the state has attracted a host of clean-tech companies to build manufacturing facilities and plants there, including California-based solar company Stion Solar Panels and Texas-based biofuel company KiOR. This shows that even low-ranking states are beginning to aggressively target clean-tech companies and services for their job creation and capital attraction, and are likely to rise in the ranks.

“This year’s Leadership index shows that clean-energy activity is dispersed across the nation, with leaders on both coasts and in between,” says Clean Edge managing director Ron Pernick. “While the industry faces many challenges, including strong national-level commitments in China and Germany against the backdrop of uncertain federal leadership here, the U.S. is still a relevant clean-energy innovator as exhibited by the state-level movements tracked in this year’s Leadership index.”

About the U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index: Clean Edge’s U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index tracks and analyzes the clean-energy economies of all 50 states. The detailed information (data from more than 70 indicators) covers technology, policy, and capital infrastructures for the clean-energy ecosystem. The subscription product is geared toward corporations, economic development agencies, investors, policy makers, technology innovators, foundations, and other stakeholders actively involved in the clean-tech marketplace.


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