ROAD TRIP UPDATES: After our evening arrival in Salt Lake City, we were happy for the easy check-in, delicious dinner, and good night’s sleep at the Radisson Hotel downtown (https://www.radissonhotelsamericas.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-salt-lake-city-downtown). The city itself was warm and vibrant – and nestled in between the glorious mountains of Utah, the views are hard to beat no matter where in the city you stood. We also noticed some of the temples on our way in, which were certainly spectacular views to behold – with the stark white architecture which contrasted perfectly with the green fields and blue mountains surrounding them (featured right). The next part of the journey would take us through Idaho, Oregon, and Washington as well – so in this post and later this week we’ll focus on the PNW energy profiles, and the vast beauty that comprises this part of the country.
Idaho Energy Profile
Before traveling through Idaho, I’ll admit I didn’t know much about it beyond some faint idea that they grew potatoes (see Idaho Potatoes, https://idahopotato.com/). Naturally, my imagination led me to believe the state was covered in potato farms and not much else, and while there is certainly farm-land to be found in Idaho, we saw plenty of other vegetation as well! For one, there were tons of streams and rivers throughout – and we even stopped at dog park for Benny and Earl while we were outside of Boise, that was covered in green grass and weeping willows. It was just beautiful, and very peaceful I might add!
Checking out their energy profile on EIA.gov (https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=ID), we immediately learn that Idaho is a much greener state than anticipated:
- “In 2019, 76% of the electricity generated in Idaho at utility-scale power plants was produced from renewable energy sources, the third-highest share for any state after Vermont and Maine.”
- “Idaho is among the five states with the lowest average electricity price, in part because of the large amount of electricity that comes from relatively inexpensive hydro-power, which accounted for 56% of the state’s generation in 2019.”
- “Idaho’s small population contributes to it being among the 10 states with the lowest total petroleum consumption, but Idaho’s per capita petroleum use is near the national average.”
Perhaps it’s obvious that with a lower total population, (roughly 1.78 M, https://datacommons.org/ranking/Count_Person/State/country/USA?h=geoId%2F16), Idaho has lower overall petroleum consumption rates, however I think it’s still pretty impressive that so much of their state grid is dominated by renewable energy and hydro-power.
Oregon Energy Profile
It’s no secret that Oregon has a diverse landscape – home to some of the tallest mountains in North America, including Mount Hood (https://www.fs.usda.gov/mthood), as well as counting numerous rivers and waterfalls within it’s vast territory – such as Multnomah Falls (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/crgnsa/recarea/?recid=30026) – it’s no wonder that this state is such a sought-after travel destination for skiers and hikers. Our journey through Oregon this time was short however, and we would only be spending a brief moment passing through the grassy hills and into the pine-forests before arriving in Washington later that same day.
It’s easy to think of Oregon as “just another Pacific Northwest State,” if you’re not from the area, and while there are some regional differences between Oregonians and Washingtonians or Californians, the western-most states do have a lot in common when it comes to energy. Just check out what eia.gov has to say about their devotion to green energy (https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=OR):
- “In 2019, 49% of Oregon’s utility-scale electricity net generation came from hydroelectric power, and 62% came from conventional hydroelectric power plants and other renewable energy resources combined.”
- “In 2019, wind farms produced 11% of Oregon’s electricity net generation from more than 1,900 turbines with more than 3,400 megawatts of installed generating capacity.”
- “Oregon is a partner in the West Coast Electric Highway along with California, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. As of December 2020, there were more than 670 public electric vehicle charging stations with a total of more than 1,800 charging outlets in service across Oregon.”
While other states are still trying to build wind farms, Oregon leads the way in wind and hydro-power, and has already begun construction on the electric car infrastructure needed for battery-powered cars to charge and continue to operate on longer trips.
I also found this Quick Fact about Oregon energy interesting (https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=OR): “Oregon receives more than 90% of the refined products it uses from the Puget Sound refineries in the state of Washington.”
To find out more about Oregon’s energy profile, check out the following links – or share your own insights within the comments section below!