In 2019, the United States got 80% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels. Approximately 11.4% came from renewables (principally biomass, hydropower, wind, geothermal, and solar). Nuclear, a carbon-free but not renewable source of energy, provided another 8.4%. We depend on those fuels to heat our homes, run our vehicles, power industry and manufacturing, and provide us with electricity.

Since the start of the 21st century, the U.S. energy system has seen tremendous changes. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has gone through a “renaissance” of production. Technological improvements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have unlocked enormous oil and natural gas resources from unconventional formations, such as shale. Oil has surpassed levels of production not seen since the 1970s. Natural gas has set new production records almost every year since 2000. In conjunction with the rise in oil and natural gas production, U.S. production of natural gas liquids has also increased.

As a source of total primary energy, renewable energy has also increased – 80% between 2000 and 2017. Unlike some other energy commodities (e.g., crude oil), renewable energy is available in a variety of distinct forms that use different conversion technologies to produce usable energy products (e.g., electricity, heat, and liquid fuels).

The United States has the largest coal resources in the world. Although its prices have stayed low, coal has faced increasing competition from natural gas and renewables. U.S. coal consumption peaked in 2007 and has since declined by 39%. Nuclear faces significant challenges as a future source of energy, price being one of it s challenges. – The Congressional Research Service



U.S. Electricity Generation by Source in 2022: Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear, Wind, Hydro, Solar, Geothermal, Biomass, Petroleum

By Wolf Richter 02/28/23
Electricity generation, as measured in gigawatt-hours, has gotten hammered by a near-stagnation in demand since 2007, as efforts to make everything more efficient have produced results for electricity users who’d invested in more efficient lights,…
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UN: Renewables are key to cutting emissions over next decade

By Nidhi Subbaraman 04/04/22
Countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris agreement, climate experts tapped by the United Nations said in a report released…
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Biden’s Clean Electricity Standard is Overwhelmingly Popular

Joe Biden’s vision for a clean energy future mobilized key constituencies to deliver the White House and Congress for Democrats. And the data shows that people were excited about Biden’s climate plan. In fact, climate…
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For Clean Energy, Buy American or Buy It Quick and Cheap?

By Noam Scheiber 05/11/21
President Biden says slowing climate change will create jobs. Tension between unions and environmentalists shows it’s not so simple.
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Biden faces tough choice over a battery plant in Georgia

By Gavin Bade 04/08/21
President Joe Biden’s ambitious electric vehicle plan has run into a huge hurdle with U.S. trade law, forcing him to choose between swing-state jobs and American intellectual property rules that have come under intense scrutiny…
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The Plan to Build a Global Network of Floating Power Stations

By Daniel Oberhaus 01/26/21
A lot of thermal energy is trapped in the ocean. An ex-NASA researcher has figured out how it might generate unlimited clean power for aquatic robots.
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EIA forecasts less power generation from natural gas as a result of rising fuel costs

By Tyler Hodge 01/19/21
In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), released on January 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that generation from natural gas-fired power plants in the U.S. electric power sector will decline by about…
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What clean energy might look like in 2021

By Austa Somvichian-Clausen 01/14/21
2020 was undoubtedly one of the most tumultuous years in American history — one that was rocked not only by a global health pandemic but also by unprecedented political divisions that infiltrated most facets of life…
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With Biden, The Whole Climate Will Change

Ken Silverstein 01/04/21
During the Trump Administration, a dark cloud hung over the nation’s environmental movement and specifically any attempts to mitigate climate change. But the election of Joe Biden to the presidency will change that — certainly…
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Renewable energy could power the world by 2050

By Paul Brown 02/19/20
Wind, water and solar sources − the renewable energy trio − could meet almost all the needs of our power-hungry society in 30 years. The post Renewable energy could power the world by 2050 appeared first…
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Renewable energy is growing fast in the U.S., but fossil fuels still dominate

By Drew Desilver 01/15/20
Most Americans (77%) say it’s more important for the United States to develop alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, than to produce more coal, oil and other fossil fuels, according to a recent…
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Good News, Bad News: 4 Trends in US Energy Use

By Devashree Saha 08/15/19
In 2018, the United States set a new record for energy consumption: 101 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy. Of this total, 81 quadrillion Btu (or 80%) were from fossil fuels: petroleum, natural gas and…
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What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?

Energy Explained

Your guide to understanding energy


Costs will come in the way of a green energy future

By Manuel Kuehn   07/07/20  
Especially, since hydrogen already has a plethora of uses in industrial sector, and primarily used as a basic chemical in the synthesis of ammonia and other fertilizers such as urea. And for the synthesis of…
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Full Frame: Water and Sustainability

One of the culprits of water pollution is fracking – short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s a process of drilling deep into shale rock and using high-pressure water and chemicals to release the gas trapped inside.
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Gas to nuclear? Dominion looks beyond pipeline’s demise

By Heather Richards and Peter Behr   07/07/20  
Dominion and Thomas Farrell, its chief executive, faced a new clean energy imperative following the enactment in April of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which mandated that Dominion convert to renewable energy by 2045, making…
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The Economic Tide Of This Renewable Resource Is Rising

By Jaycee Tenn Benzinga   07/07/20  
Ocean waves are caused by wind blowing along the ocean’s surface. These waves hold a tremendous amount of energy, and because the wind blows consistently and with a lot of force, the water is able…
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Solar energy and carbon capture technology

Similarly, NASA has developed technology which uses low-cost nanomaterial devices to convert CO2 to fuel using solar power. NASA's technology is powered by a photoelectrochemical cell made from thin metal oxide films. Using such devices,…
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Europe wants to use hydrogen to slow climate change – will it work?

By Adam Vaughan   07/07/20  
That is why the strategy demands targets on what it calls “renewable hydrogen”, produced using electrolysers powered by renewable sources of electricity. It wants 4 gigawatts of electrolyser capacity by 2024, rising to 40 gigawatts…
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Energy Department authorizes LNG exports from Oregon terminal

By Lisa Ellwood   07/07/20  
• The future of Carlsbad, New Mexico’s oil and gas industry is in question, with experts disagreeing over when or whether it will recover from the pandemic downturn. (Searchlight New Mexico)
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ACP was a pipeline to the past. Now we can focus on a renewable energy future.

On Sunday, the two big utilities who had partnered in a plan to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced they were giving up on the project. Richmond-based Dominion Energy and Charlotte-based Duke Energy had until…
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Virginia Democrats Cheer Cancellation Of $8 Billion Natural Gas Pipeline

By Margaret Barthel   07/06/20  
The project faced significant legal and grassroots pushback from environmental and community groups. But action by a district court in Montana to overturn a nationwide permit for crossing water and wetlands was the final straw,…
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‘Renewable’ natural gas may sound green, but it’s not an antidote for climate change

By Emily Grubert   07/06/20  
Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a…
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The next energy battle: Renewables vs. natural gas

By Ivan Penn   06/16/20  
Utilities around the country are promoting their growing use of renewable energy like hydroelectric dams, wind turbines and solar panels, which collectively provided more power than coal-fired power plants for the first time last year.…
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U.S. Electricity Is Shifting, But Not Exactly Going Green

By Justin Fox   06/26/19  
Renewables topped coal in electricity generation for the first time in April, but they still have a long way to go to catch natural gas.
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EIA: Coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation to drop below 25% in 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is expecting domestic coal-fired power generation this year to reach its lowest level in over 70 years.
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