North Dakota


Select Economic and Energy Data Value State Rank
Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita $37,832 20th highest
Unemployment 4.1% 1st lowest
Gasoline Price, per gallon $2.90 11th highest
Electricity Price, per kWh 6.81¢ 7th lowest

North Dakota has some of the most affordable electricity prices in the country, in large part because almost 90 percent of its electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants. North Dakota has the best wind potential in the United States and generates 8 percent of its electricity from that renewable resource. Hydroelectric dams provide 4 percent of the state’s electricity.

North Dakota has substantial coal, oil, and natural gas reserves. The state produces coal from large surface mines in the central part of the state, 2 percent of the nation’s oil production, and about 1 percent of domestic natural gas production. North Dakota is one of a few states that produce synthetic natural gas, with the largest source of synthetic gas in the country, the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in Beulah.

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 North Dakota’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy. North Dakota has thus far avoided many of the costly energy policies other states are implementing.

North Dakota:

  • North Dakota does not cap greenhouse gas emissions.
  • North Dakota is not a member of a regional agreement to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
  • North Dakota does not require utilities to generate from renewable sources a certain percentage of the electricity that they sell. The state, however, has a non-binding renewable portfolio goal to generate 10 percent of the electricity sold in the state from renewable energy and recycled energy by 2015.[i]
  • North Dakota does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels.
  • North Dakota does not impose automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles.
  • North Dakota does not require new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards.
  • North Dakota does not impose state-base appliance efficiency standards.
  • North Dakota 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,

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *