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Energy Facts: The Increasing Energy Demands of the United States

The United States is one of the world’s leaders in energy consumption, production, and supply. In our present days, America has very diversified energy markets and even though its inhabitants utilize electricity every single day, they are not mindful of various surprising statistics and facts about how the 50 states use energy. 

For instance, the usage of energy in America is doubling every 20 years and solar energy market alone has generated over 175,000 jobs. Furthermore, in 2014, natural gas production was higher than it has ever been in history. Studies have shown that United States uses approximately 23% of the globe’s energy, yet it holds around 5% of the world’s population whilst hospitals in the United States classify as the highest energy consumers in the entire world.

Nevertheless, the problem of increasing energy demands in the US is not going to be solved overnight. In 2018, energy consumption reached a new record high with over 101.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). This was up by 4% from the previous year, 2017.

The ever-rising demand for energy is a tricky and complex problem for energy producers and lawmakers. Technological advancements, scientific progression, and people having more disposable income to access energy-consuming products are all positive steps. 

In this article, we will take you through some of the key energy facts we think you should know. This will enable you to become more informed on how energy has been consumed in the past 70 years.

Energy Sources and the Difference Types

The United States utilizes and produces different types and sources of energy, which can be broken down into different categories. These are as follows:

  • Primary - These can be mined or produced directly from the source. Some examples include natural gas, crude oil, wind, coal, and solar.
  • Secondary - These are resources that have been converted or stored. Some examples include electricity, heat, and biofuels.
  • Renewable - These are resources that can be replenished. Some examples include wind, solar, and tidal energy.
  • Nonrenewable - These are resources that cannot be replaced and are in limited supply. Some examples include oil, coal, natural gas, and petroleum. These can also be referred to as fossil fuels.

The US manufactures, exports, and produces all these types of energy. The consumption of all of them combined has risen from 35 quadrillion units in 1950 to over 100 quadrillion today. Over 80% of this number (80 quadrillion) is made up of fossil fuels.

Coal Is on the Decline 

The way in which we consume energy has drastically changed since 1950. We still rely on fossil fuels, but coal is no longer the go-to fuel for electricity production, as the consumption has decreased since its peak of 24.0 quads in 1989. 

In 2019, that coal production was reduced to 14 quads, whereas coal consumption was at an all-time low of 11.3 quads.

With a shift in focus towards natural gas production, coal production continues to fall. This trend will continue to show a decline as the years continue, whereas natural gas production reached a record high of 34.9 quads in 2019.

This is because of more efficient drilling equipment and techniques allowing more gas to be collected. The shift in production size has meant that the price of natural gas has decreased, meaning that it is a cheaper resource for the electric power and industrial sectors to use.

Renewable Energy Is Increasing

Renewable energy production and consumption are at an all-time high in the US with 11.6 and 11.5 quads being made in 2019. A lot of this is due to the extremely high production of wind and solar energy farms. 

Hydroelectric power production did not fare as well in 2019, down 12% on the 50-year average. This is thought to be due to lower precipitation levels in the western parts of America.

Although this is really encouraging, seeing these record-breaking statistics with renewable energy sources, the fact remains that renewable energy cannot currently keep up with the global demand. 

Because of economic growth and a rising global population that, on average, is living longer, there simply is not enough renewable energy being produced to keep up with what the world currently requires.

These are some of the tough realizations policymakers and government departments will have to consider when it comes to energy production and consumption. 

Oil, Petroleum, and Its Uses 

Petroleum is still a huge factor in terms of energy consumption, making up 37% of the total energy consumption in 2018. The transport industry is one of the main consumers of oil and petroleum since 2000; the total amount that is consumed has ranged between 66 and 71%. 

This is one of the sectors, which includes automotive, shipping, trains, planes, and most travel, that will continue to contribute to carbon emissions in the US. In 2017, it was deemed the number one cause for carbon emissions, surpassing that of the electric power sector.

Oil is still seen as a massive energy resource, and it will continue to rise over the next decade in terms of an increase in production. Eighty-five percent will come from the USA.

Around 2025, we should start to see a slow in the oil demand as more countries and the USA adapt to more sustainable energy resources. Things like electric cars and rising fuel efficiency will contribute to this, and then flatten out in the 2030s.

Nuclear Energy: Is This Increasing?  

Nuclear energy is produced by commercial power plants in the US and has been done so since 1957. Strictly speaking, the amount of energy produced increased year on year from 1990 until around 2000.

However, despite there being less nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors these days, the energy output has certainly increased from individual power plants. It means that more energy is being produced from fewer plants. In 2019, there was a record high of 8.4 quads. 

This is due to increased capacity at power plants, better general maintenance, and shorter refueling cycles. Nuclear energy is, undoubtedly, an increasing energy sector and will continue to rise as we enter the new decade. 

Where Can I Find out More About Increasing Energy?

We hope this article has given you some clear and interesting facts about the US and the ever-increasing energy demands of the country.

Considering the amount of change in the energy sector over the past 70 years, it will be fascinating to see where we are even a decade from now. How we consume and produce our energy is always subject to adjustment and responsive to societal and even global demands.

If you have any further queries or questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you!


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