Central Mississippi is a hub of energy production, with both non-renewable and renewable sources playing a major role in the region's energy supply. In 2000, the state mandated that electricity providers obtain 30 percent of their energy from renewable resources. Last year, renewable energy accounted for nearly a quarter of the energy produced in the state. Coal has been the main source of electricity produced in Central Mississippi for nearly two decades, but its share of generation has declined from 70 percent in 2001 to 52 percent last year.
Natural gas has become increasingly popular in Central Mississippi, and is now the biggest source of electricity in 20 states. Last year, natural gas provided most of the electricity generation in Louisiana, one of the top five natural gas producers in the country. Wind energy is also becoming more prevalent in Central Mississippi, and was the second largest source of electricity produced in South Dakota last year, accounting for nearly a quarter of generation in the state. Biomass, or energy that comes from the burning of wood and other organic materials, is also an important source of energy production in Central Mississippi. In 2001, biomass accounted for approximately 75% of the electricity produced in Oregon.
In an effort to encourage more non-hydroelectric renewable energy, Oregon will require its largest utility companies to get 50 percent of their electricity from new renewable energy sources by 2040. Most of the electricity produced in Wisconsin still comes from coal, but natural gas has rapidly expanded its share of generation in recent years. The two main sources of renewable energy in Wisconsin are biomass and hydroelectric energy. Vermont's renewable energy goal requires that 75 percent of electricity sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2032, including 10 percent from small sources within the state. In Central Mississippi, coal had been the dominant energy source for decades. However, due to the rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has flooded the state with cheap natural gas, several large coal plants have shut down or switched to burning natural gas.
Wind is also becoming increasingly popular as a source of renewable energy in Central Mississippi.