How Does Electricity Flow Through Your State?


Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance your electricity might not be home grown. Just like traffic or food or weather, our electricity moves across state lines.

This map shows the net electricity flow of each state – whether more electricity is coming in or going out across each state’s borders – based on 2011 data from the Energy Information Administration. Blue states are net exporters or electricity and red states are net importers:

Nationwide, we’re pretty evenly split between electricity importers and exporters:

  • 26 states send out more electricity than they take in.
  • 22 states (and the District of Columbia) take in more energy than they send out.
  • Hawaii and Alaska are a net wash.

Who are the biggest importers of electricity? California, Virginia and Ohio.

And who are the biggest exporters or electricity? Pennsylvania, Alabama and Illinois.

How do our Inside Energy focus states measure up?

  • Colorado is a slight net importer of electricity, with 59.7 Trillion Btu a year.
  • North Dakota is a major exporter – the eighth biggest in the country – with 232.7 Trillion Btu a year.
  • Wyoming is also a major exporter – the fifth biggest in the country – with 302.5 Trillion Btu a year.

Or course, being a net importer doesn’t mean a state isn’t producing it’s own electricity. And being a net exporter doesn’t mean a state isn’t buying electricity from its neighbors. This only scratches the surface of the complicated ways electricity flows in, out, through and around our country.

At Inside Energy, we’ll be digging into the data on this issue and other messy energy topics as we explore the interplay of people and power.