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Electricity generation in the U.S. 1990-2019, by fuel

In the United States, coal's use as a source of net electricity generation has declined over the last years, decreasing to 966 terawatt hours in 2019 from a peak of 2,013 terawatt hours in 2005. In contrast, there has been a rise in natural gas and renewable sources within the energy mix. Natural gas has even surpassed coal as the most common source of energy, accounting for 35 percent of electricity generation. Overall, electricity generation from electric utilities has decreased in the U.S.

Electricity generation in the U.S.

Most electricity is generated from steam turbines through the use of fossil fuels, nuclear, biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal energy. Other systems such as gas turbines, hydro turbines, wind turbines, and solar photovoltaics are also major generation technologies. Fossil fuels currently remain the most common source of electricity, especially natural gas, which uses steam and gas turbines to generate electricity. Nuclear power is the second most used source of electricity and generates electricity from nuclear fission through steam turbines. A wide variety of renewable sources have become more prominent in recent years, including hydroelectricity, wind energy, solar energy, and geothermal.

Total net electricity generation in the United States from 1990 to 2019, by energy source*

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Release date

March 2020


United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* According to the source, coal figures include anthracite, bituminous coal, subbituminous coal, lignite, waste coal, and coal synfuel. Petroleum: fuel oil, residual fuel oil, petroleum coke, jet fuel, kerosene, other petroleum, and waste oil. Natural gas: natural gas, plus a small amount of supplemental gaseous fuels. Other gases: last furnace gas, propane gas, other manufactured and waste gases derived from fossil fuels. Hydroelectric pumped storage: pumped storage facility production minus energy used for pumping.
** Renewable energy figures have been added up. They include the following sources: hydroelectric conventional, biomass, geothermal, solar/PV, wind.

Values have been rounded to provide a better understanding of the statistic.
Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.

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Statistics on "Electricity in the U.S."

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