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U.S. Energy Sources

Where U.S. Energy Comes From

(based on U.S. Energy Information Administration's Monthly Energy Review data through Aug 2016 and projected through Dec 2016)

[All numbers are in trillion btus.]

 

2016 U.S. Energy Consumption

There are three sectors of energy consumption: electricity (39%), transportation (29%), and heating (32%).

 

The same 2016 data, but totaled on the top line, and with heating broken out by sector of use.  Heating of industrial processes (like paper mills, cement kilns, chemical plants and steel mills) makes up 68% of all heating sector use, and 22% of total U.S. energy use.  Fossil fuels make up 81% of total U.S. energy use.

 

Trends in U.S. energy use since 1950 show that energy use has tripled, and that even after the recession, energy use has flattened out and we can no longer expect a growing demand over time.

 

Same data, but in line chart, not stacked.

 

The "renewable" portion of the overall energy mix over time.  It's mainly hydroelectric and (highly polluting) biomass/waste incineration, though wind is catching up and solar is starting to grow most rapidly.

 

Same data but in line chart, not stacked.
However, biomass/waste incineration and biofuels (ethanol/biodiesel) are combined to show that "bioenergy" is the largest "renewable" source and has been growing rapidly, but leveling off since 2014.  Wind and solar are growing rapidly, but have some catching up to do.

 

The next four charts are just the electricity sector (not transportation or heating).  The largest sources in 2016 are coal (33%), natural gas (29%), and nuclear (23%).

 

Same data, but in line chart, not stacked.
Natural gas surpassed nuclear power as the #2 source in 2012 and is expected to surpass nuclear indefinitely as hundreds of new gas-fired power plants are proposed and are starting to come online, and since several of the nation's nuclear power reactors are closing.  Coal power plants are closing rapidly as gas replaces them.

 

"Renewable" electricity sources
Mostly hydroelectric, but wind is catching up, solar is starting to be a player, and biomass/waste incineration is flatlining, as the grassroots anti-biomass movement, coordinated by Energy Justice Network, has defeated about 50 proposed biomass and waste incinerators between 2010 and 2014.

 

Same data, but in line chart, not stacked.

 

Industrial heating sources

 

Residential heating sources
Residential wood burning has increased dramatically from 2011-2014, despite its serious pollution hazards, then fell to some of its lowest levels.  Natural gas, much from fracking, is clearly the largest source, yet has been shrinking as overall residential heating demand has dropped dramatically since 2014, probably due to the fact that we've had the warmest years ever since then.

 

Commercial heating sources

 

Transportation energy use
92% is oil.  Ethanol (including biodiesel) is a small but growing sources for transportation fuel, while natural gas vehicle use grew, but declined since 2013.

 

 

2016 Bioenergy use, by sector

 

Bioenergy use by sector, over time

 

Natural gas use, by sector

 

Coal use, by sector