Oil & Natural Gas Production Skyrocket; Renewables Lag Behind
The Institute for Energy Research released today its updated Energy Encyclopedia, providing an in-depth analysis of America’s energy sources through 2015. Using Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, IER examines these energy sources and breaks down how each one contributes to overall energy consumption and production in the United States. Below are the highlights of our 2015 findings:
Energy Consumption and Production
- U.S. energy consumption decreased by 0.9 percent to 97.7 quadrillion Btu.
- Primary energy production reached a record 88.6 quadrillion Btu, and was 1.4 percent higher than in 2014
- Fossil fuel production increased by 1.7 percent, with the increase in oil and natural gas production more than making up for the decrease in coal production of 10.5 percent.
- Oil production increased to 9.4 million barrels per day from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2014, an increase of 8.3 percent.
- Net petroleum imports dropped to 24 percent of demand from a high of 60 percent in 2005.
- Natural gas production increased to 27.1 trillion cubic feet from 25.7 trillion cubic feet, an increase of 5.3 percent
- Net natural gas imports declined by 75 percent from its high in 2007
- Electricity generation declined slightly (by 0.15 percent).
- Coal generated 33.2 percent of U.S. electricity—its lowest share since data have been reported in 1950—natural gas generated 32.7 percent, nuclear generated 19.5 percent, and renewable energy (including hydroelectricity) generated 13.4 percent.
- The number of nuclear reactors fell to 99 from 104 in 2012. Watts Bar 2 received its 40-year operating license from the NRC and is expected to begin commercial operation in 2016.
- Renewable energy increased slightly to 9.68 quadrillion Btu from 9.64 quadrillion Btu in 2014, an increase of just 0.35 percent.
- Of the renewable technologies, hydroelectric had the largest share of total generation at 6.1 percent, followed by wind at 4.7 percent.
- Utility scale solar power increased its generation by 31 percent from 2014 levels, but its share was just 0.6 percent of total generation. Including distributed solar would increase solar power’s share to 0.9 percent of total generation.