Does Illinois produce more coal than it consumes?

What percent of Iowa’s electricity comes from wind?

What’s the average electricity price in the Midwest?

They’re all questions than can be answered in the Power Almanac of the American Midwest, a web guide published Thursday by the World Resources Institute and Great Plains Institute.

Nicholas Bianco, a senior associate with the World Resources Institute, said the goal was to create a resource to help policymakers and the public better understand energy issues.

Bianco was joined on a conference call Thursday by Illinois and Minnesota energy officials, who said they hope the almanac will help improve energy policy discussions.

“One of the great challenges always is getting agreement on a common set of facts,” said Rolf Nordstrom, executive director of the Great Plains Institute.

The almanac pulls data comes from more than 50 sources and overlays them on a clickable Google Map, which is supplemented with a series of charts and graphs.

The map layers show generation facilities such as power plants and wind farms, as well as the location of resources, from sun levels to gas and coal deposits.

It’s all information that’s available elsewhere on the web, mostly on various government websites, but this is an attempt to put it all in a centralized, easy-to-use format.

The almanac will be regularly updated, as often as monthly for some data.

And if you’re wondering the answers to the questions at the top, the answers are:

1) No. Illinois produced 783 trillion BTUs of coal in 2009 but consumed 1,015 trillion BTUs.

2) Wind accounted for 15.95 percent of Iowa’s electricity generation in 2010.

3)The Midwest’s average electricity price in 2009 was 8.06 cents per kWh.

The Great Plains Institute is a member of RE-AMP, which also publishes Midwest Energy News.

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