Select Economic and Energy Data Value State Rank
Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita $56,401 1st highest
Unemployment 9.2% 24th highest
Gasoline Price, per gallon $2.75 22nd lowest
Electricity Price, per kWh 12.17¢ 13th highest

Delaware has relatively expensive electricity prices, 23 percent higher than the national average. Coal produces almost 60 percent of Delaware’s electricity, while natural gas produces about 29 percent.

Delaware has no fossil fuel resources, so its energy supplies are delivered from other states. Coal is imported from West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, and Virginia while natural gas is supplied via two interstate pipelines.

Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy

Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.

Below are some facts about Delaware’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy.

  • Delaware does not cap greenhouse gas emissions. However, as a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, it has imposed a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
  • Delaware is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional agreement between ten Northeast states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This agreement requires states to cap carbon dioxide emissions from the electrical generation sector and to reduce those emissions by 10 percent by 2018 through a cap-and-trade scheme.
  • Delaware requires utilities to generate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources. The state’s renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to provide 20 percent of the electricity sold in the state from renewable sources by 2010, of which 2 percent must come from solar photovoltaics.[i] However, municipal utilities and cooperatives can opt out of the standard by establishing a green energy fund and a voluntary green power program.[ii]
  • Delaware requires the use of reformulated gasoline blended with ethanol.[iii]
  • Delaware does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
  • Delaware requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. Senate Bill 306, enacted in 2004, adopted the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and ASHRAE 90.1-1999 for commercial buildings.[iv] The IECC (developed by the International Code Council) and ASHRAE (developed by the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) are model codes that mandate certain energy efficiency standards. Senate Bill 59, passed in 2009, requires the most recent version of the IECC: new residential buildings three stories or less constructed after July 1, 2010. All other construction built after that date, including high-rise residential, must meet the latest ASHRAE standard.[v]
  • Delaware does not impose state-based appliance efficiency standards. However, House Bill 434, enacted in 2004, requires state agencies to purchase Energy Star products if they are competitively available within a reasonable time frame and meet appropriate performance standards.[vi]
  • Delaware does not allow utilities to “decouple” revenue from the sale of electricity and natural gas. Some states decouple revenue from actual sales, allowing utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.

Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity,  (March 15, 2010),; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009,

[i] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States,

[ii] A Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act, Delaware Code, Del. Code title 26, Ch. 1, Sub. III,

[iii] Energy Information Administration, Delaware, Apr. 1, 2010,

[iv] S.B. 306 (Del. 2004),

[v] S.B. 59 (Del. 2009),$file/legis.html?open.

[vi] H.B. 434 (Del. 2004),

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