Current Trends in U.S. Energy Production and Consumption

Figure 1.1: Total U.S. Direct Energy Consumption by sector in 2010.  Agriculture uses approximately 1 percent of total U.S. energy use (included with industrial uses section).  Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review 2009, and Monthly Energy Review (June 2011), preliminary 2010 data. Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=us_energy_use

Figure 1.1: Total U.S. Direct Energy Consumption by sector in 2010. Agriculture uses approximately 1 percent of total U.S. energy use (included with industrial uses section). Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review 2009, and Monthly Energy Review (June 2011), preliminary 2010 data. Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=us_energy_use

In the United States, industry and manufacturing, transportation, and commercial and residential sectors each use about a third of the total energy consumed (Figure 1.1). Farming operations use about 1 percent of the total energy consumed [7]. Approximately 92 percent of the energy used in the U.S. comes from non-renewable sources (coal, petroleum, nuclear and natural gas). Renewable energy (biomass, solar, wind, hydro) provides the other 9 percent (Figure 1.2).

It is projected that by 2035 total energy use will increase, with the fossil fuel share decreasing slightly (from 84 percent to 78 percent) as renewable fuels increase (from 10 percent to 14 percent) (8). This projected fuel shift is due largely to changes in federal and state policies, including the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard (CAFÉ), the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Among the fossil fuels, natural gas will play a much larger role in the future, as the U.S. has recently discovered vast new areas of natural gas (shale gas deposits) and economists are projecting very low prices for decades to come.

Coal will remain the dominant fuel source for electric energy production. Very few, if any, new coal plants will be built, but it is projected that coal use will increase gradually over this time as current coal facilities are used more intensively and old plants are shut down.

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