By April 6, 2017 Read More →

US energy consumption up slightly in 2016, coal use down significantly: EIA

energy consumption

The US Energy Information Administration reported US energy consumption rose slightly in 2016.  Wind generation in the US increased by nearly 20 per cent, according to the EIA. Gregg M. Erickson photo via Wikipedia.

Fossil fuels account for bulk of US energy consumption

US energy consumption rose slightly in 2016 over 2015, according to the Energy Information Administration.  Coal consumption fell while renewables showed the largest increase in energy consumption in 2016.

The EIA reported wind generation increased by nearly 2o per cent, making up almost half of all renewable consumption increases.  Solar consumption was also considerably up in 2016 and hydroelectric consumption was up by 7 per cent as the West Coast recovered from severe drought conditions.  Biomass consumption accounted for 47 per cent of all renewable consumption in 2016.

All told, wind, hydro and solar made up 91 per cent of renewable consumption increases.

According to the EIA, fossil fuels made up 81 per cent of the total US energy consumption in 2016, slightly down from 2015 and down significantly from 86 per cent in 2005.

Consumption of petroleum and natural gas both increased last year, with the increases more than offsetting reduced coal consumption.


Petroleum consumption increased to 19.6 million b/d in 2016, led by increases in the transportation sector.  Consumption of natural gas also rose, up to 27.5 billion cubic feet, led by higher demand from utilities and industrial sectors.

According to the EIA, residential and commercial building use of natural gas fell slightly, reflecting a lower demand for heating.

For the third straight year, coal consumption fell in 2016.  Utilities coal use fell by 8 per cent, while industrial sector coal consumption fell by 11 per cent.

In the US, nuclear fuel consumption rose by 1 per cent.  Nuclear capacity was slightly higher in 2016 over 2015 and annual average nuclear capacity factors, which reflect the use of power plants, showed a slight increase from 92.3 per cent to 92.5 per cent.


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