Find Arizona’s energy infrastructure as well as areas of potential energy generation on this map by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
Societies in the 21 st century require enormous amounts of energy to drive the machines of commerce and to sustain the lifestyles that many people have come to expect. Today, most of this energy is derived from oil, natural gas, and coal, supplemented by nuclear power. The Federal Government launched substantial programs to accelerate development of means to increasingly harness “alternative energies”—primarily biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind.
Arizona’s Energy Profile
Today, Arizona’s energy industry represents about 4% of the state’s GDP, or $10 billion of economic activity annually and close to 20,000 jobs. On a per person basis, Arizona’s greenhouse gas emissions were lower than the national average by about one-third in 2006 (14 tons of CO2 equivalent per person vs. 22 tons nationally). Arizona uses energy primarily in the forms of electricity and petroleum (for transportation). In Arizona, the transportation sector is responsible for 39% of total emissions and 38% come from the electricity sector.
Energy at a Glance
|Arizona Total Energy Consumption, 2010||Total Energy Expenditures, 2010|
|1,399.60 Trillion BTU (~410,182 mWh)||$19,374.30 million|
Get a detailed breakdown of energy information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Energy Data System.
Primary energy is in the form of fuels: coal, oil, natural gas, and biomass, as well as geothermal, solar and wind. We often convert these fuels into electricity, a secondary form of energy. Some fuels, such as natural gas, can be used in direct form in a gas-burning heater or dryer, or in a power plant to generate electricity. Although almost two-fifths of the households in the state rely on natural gas for heating, the mild winters help keep overall household consumption of natural gas relatively low.
Arizona’s electric power currently comes primarily from coal, natural gas, and nuclear generation. The U.S. Energy Information Agency ranks Arizona near the middle of the states in total energy consumption, and per capita energy consumption is low. In 2009, Arizona produced 111.9 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, consuming 73.4 billion kWh and selling the rest to neighboring states, primarily markets in southern California.
Arizona produces significant amounts of coal but has but few other fossil fuel resources. However, the state offers high potential for renewable sources; solar, wind, and geothermal power development could transform the state’s energy profile. In February 2006, Arizona adopted a renewable portfolio standard that requires electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025. The Arizona Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program (PDF), initiated in 2010, advances Arizona’s exploration of renewable energy sources by stimulating new investments in manufacturing and encouraging operations of solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable technologies to headquarter in Arizona.
Already producing more energy than we consume, if Arizona works to exploit the potential of solar, wind, and other renewable resources, we could be well positioned to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and even expand energy exports in the coming decades.