Electricity generation by fuel in the United States 1990-2018

In the United States, coal as a source of net electricity generation has declined over the last years, decreasing to 1,146 terawatt hours in 2018 from a peak of 2,013 terawatt hours in 2005. In contrast, there has been a rise in natural gas and renewable sources for electricity generation. 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 U.S. electricity net generation from 1990 to 2018, by fuel (in billion kilowatt hours)*

CoalNuclear electric powerNatural gasHydroelectric pumped storagePetroleumOther gasesRenewables**
20181,146.39807.081,468.01-5.9124.5712.19712.77
20171,205.84804.951,296.42-6.521.3912.47645.46
20161,239.15805.691,378.31-6.6924.2112.81609.45
20151,352.4797.181,333.48-5.0928.2513.12544.24
20141,581.71797.171,126.61-6.1730.2312.02538.58
20131,581.12789.021,124.84-4.6827.1612.85522.07
20121,514.04769.331,225.89-4.9523.1911.9494.57
20111,733.43790.21,013.69-6.4230.1811.57513.34
20101,847.29806.97987.7-5.537.0611.31427.38
20052,012.87781.99760.96-6.56122.2313.46357.65
20001,966.27753.89601.04-5.54111.2213.96356.48
19951,709.43673.4496.06-2.7374.5513.87384.8
19901,594.01576.86372.77-3.51126.4610.38357.24
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Source

Release date

March 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

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.
The 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 United States"

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