Renewable use on the rise, still far below that of fossil fuels

Published on July 07, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Although renewable energy’s share of U.S. energy consumption reached its highest levels since the 1930s in 2016, fossil fuels still continue to provide the vast majority of the nation’s energy.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the share of fossil fuel use in 2016 was the smallest in the past century, but still made up 81 percent of total consumption. Fossil fuels have accounted
for more than 80 percent of energy consumption in the U.S. for the past 100 years.

In 2016, the share of energy consumption for renewables was 10.5 percent. Solar and wind generation has increased the most over the past decade, EIA said.

Declines in coal use contributed to fossil fuels’ smaller shares. U.S. coal use decreased by nine percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2015. Every year for the past 20 years, 90 percent of U.S. coal consumption came from the power sector.

Petroleum consumption, however, has increased in each of the last four years and continues to be the most-consumed energy source in the nation. Petroleum is used for almost all transportation fuels and is also used in homes, businesses, and industries.

Use of natural gas has increased during nine of the last ten years. In 2016, the United States consumed approximately twice as much natural gas as coal, although coal outpaced natural gas in energy-equivalent terms just a decade earlier.