Thursday, June 11, 2020

U.S.Energy Use 2019

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the statistics branch of the Department of Energy, the US used 100.2 quadrillion Btu. last year. Energy sources are measured in different physical units depending on the type of energy source: barrels of oil, cubic feet of natural gas, tons of coal, kilowatt hours of electricity. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is a commonly used unit for comparing different types of energy.

In 2019, U.S. primary energy use equaled 100.2 quadrillion (=E15, or one thousand trillion) Btu. If it helps to visualize this any better, that is equivalent to about 2,500 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent) the energy measurement standard used by the International Energy Agency, IEA, the keeper of world statistics. In a world with 7.8 billion people the United States is estimated to have 328 million people, about 4% of the world’s population, 7% of the land mass and use about 16% of the energy (according to 2018 data from BP).

In the United States the US Energy Information Administration collects and reports the energy statistics in quadrillion BTUs and has recently reported the summary data for 2019. These statistics paint a picture of who we are today. The major energy sources in the United States are petroleum-gas and oil (37%), natural gas (32%), coal (11%), nuclear (8%), and renewable energy primarily biomass and hydro power generation (11%). For the first time since 1957 the United States produced more energy we consume. The United States produced 101.0 quadrillion BTUs of energy and consumed 100.2 quadrillion BTUs. U.S. energy production grew 5.7% in 2019 and energy consumption decreased by 0.9% in 2019.

The major users are heating and electric power for residential (16%) and commercial buildings (12%), industry (35%), transportation including cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships (37%). Electric power generation is an intermediate use that ultimately serves other sectors.
from EIA
The slightly complicated chart above shows the types of fuel and the sector that consumes it. Looking at petroleum, you can see that it supplies almost 37% of our energy needs. Transportation, cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships, uses 70% of petroleum and that petroleum provides 91% of the total energy used in transportation. Industry uses 24% of the total petroleum consumed by the United States to supply 34% of the energy used by industry. Studying all the details of the chart tells you a lot about the United States in 2019. It will also allow you to understand the impact that policies, regulation and scientific advances might have on the country.

Coal use has trended down since its peak of 24.0 quadrillion BTUs in 1998, mainly as a result of declining use of coal for U.S. electricity generation. In 2019, coal production was 14.3 quadrillion BTUs. Coal consumption was 11.3 quadrillion BTUs in 2019 in the United States mostly to generate electricity. The difference between production and consumption was exported. Regulations like the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule affecting electricity generation have reduced the use of coal in the United States over the last 10 years from 21% of energy down to 11% of energy used.

Nuclear energy is entirely used in one sector, electrical generation. Even though there were fewer operating nuclear reactors in 2019 than in 2000, the amount of nuclear energy produced in 2019 was the highest on record at 8.46 quadrillion BTUs, mainly because of a combination of increased capacity from power plant upgrades and shorter refueling and maintenance cycles.

Natural gas production reached a record high of 34.9 quadrillion BTUs in 2019. Natural gas is the source of 32% of the energy consumed in the United States and in 2019 was used almost equally for industry, electrical generations and residential and commercial heating. The natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in the United States. U.S. natural gas production and consumption were nearly in balance through 1986. From 1986 to 2006 consumption of natural gas outpaced production, and imports rose. Then in 2006 U.S. production of natural gas began to increase as a result of the development of more efficient and cost effective hydraulic fracturing techniques. U.S. natural gas production has exceeded U.S. natural gas consumption since 2017. Going forward regulations and planning will impact the cost, amount and mix of energy consumed by the nation.

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