Energy production in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Energy production can be divided into two categories; primary energy - the extraction of fossil fuels and uranium, as well as harvesting of renewables such as biomass fuels, wind, and solar energy; and secondary energy - electricity generation using primary energy sources. Fossil fuel sources are the main contributor to the United States’ energy production. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal have largely dominated the industry since they were first commercially extracted in the 19th century.

Primary energy – fossil fuels

In the last few decades, U.S. energy production has increased in almost every field, except for coal. Anthracite production in the U.S. has fallen significantly from a mid-20th century high of nearly 45 million short tons. Natural gas has since succeeded coal as the main fuel used for electricity generation. Over the next few decades, energy production is forecast to increase to over 118 quadrillion British thermal units. Greater strides in energy conservation and energy efficiency developments will likely contribute to a fall in fossil fuel dependency in the future.

Primary energy – renewables

Since the world governments signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, renewable energy production in the U.S. has increased consecutively, reaching 12.3 quadrillion British thermal units in 2021. In a slight deviance from overall renewable energy production, biofuel production decreased in the last few years, falling to a daily average of 602,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2020.

Secondary energy – electricity

The U.S. has a total electricity generating capacity of over 1.1 terawatts. Nuclear power plants have the greatest capacity factor of any energy source, meaning the ratio of actual electricity generation to maximum output is close to equal. Due to the dynamic nature of non-dispatchable sources such as solar and wind, their capacity factors are significantly lower.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 23 most important statistics relating to "Energy production in the U.S.".


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