Fossil fuels continue being most consumed primary energy sourcesPrimary energy consumption worldwide is largely covered by fossil fuels, namely oil, natural gas, and coal. These fuels, however, are finite resources, and burning them emits large amounts of pollutants that contribute to climate change. The U.S. is the second largest primary energy consumer in the world, devouring over 90 exajoules in 2021. Apart from times of economic crisis, primary energy consumption in the United States has remained mostly unchanged since the 1990s, which is in part a result of a leveling of primary energy consumption by energy-intensive sectors like electric power and transportation.
Wind consumption seeing greater growth rates againRenewables still account for a small share, although combined consumption of solar thermal and PV energy rose to over 1.5 quadrillion British thermal in 2021. Meanwhile, consumption of wind energy notably increased in 2020 and 2021, despite the coronavirus pandemic impacting overall energy use. With the government encouraging the expansion of the offshore wind sector, wind energy consumption is expected to see even greater growth in the future.
By 2050 renewable energy consumption in the U.S. is forecast to reach over 21 quadrillion British thermal units, nearly double the amount covered by wind, solar, and biomass sources today.