Sweeping Plains

Resources Market Infrastructure Policy

Resources: A measure of total energy production and consumption per capita

Market: The cost of consumption, measured in electricity prices and gasoline taxes

Infrastructure: Capacity to generate and refine energy sources; miles of pipelines

A Dependence on Coal

Much of the region's net electricity generation comes from coal. Coal-fired facilities typically generate about 80% of the net electricity in North Dakota, 66% in Kansas and Nebraska and 60% in Iowa. Nearly all of the coal consumed in the region is low-sulfur bituminous coal shipped by railcar from Wyoming.

Leaders in Ethanol Production

The Sweeping Plains region abuts (and overlaps with) the Corn Belt to the east. Iowa and Nebraska are the top two corn-based ethanol producing states in the nation, and South Dakota is number five. [Iowa accounted for 28% of the nation's fuel ethanol production in 2014.] Both Iowa and Nebraska deliver most of their ethanol to other states, where air quality standards require motor gasoline blended with ethanol.

Cushing, Oklahoma

Cushing, Oklahoma is the terminus for pipelines running to nearly every major oil patch in North America, and is the designated delivery point for West Texas Intermediate, a low-sulfur crude oil traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

State Profiles