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Frequently Asked Questions

What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?

In 2018, about 4,171 billion kilowatthours (kWh) (or 4.17 trillion kWh) of electricity were generated at utility-scale electricity generation facilities in the United States.1 About 64% of this electricity generation was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases). About 19% was from nuclear energy, and about 17% was from renewable energy sources. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that an additional 30 billion kWh of electricity generation was from small-scale solar photovoltaic systems in 2018.2

U.S. electricity generation by source, amount, and share of total in 20181
Energy sourceBillion kWhShare of total
Total - all sources4,171
Fossil fuels (total)2,65363.6%
  Natural gas1,46935.2%
  Coal1,14627.5%
  Petroleum (total)    25   0.6%
    Petroleum liquids    16   0.4%
    Petroleum coke     9   0.2%
  Other gases    13   0.3%
Nuclear   807  19.4%
Renewables (total)   703  16.9%
  Hydropower   293
   7.0%
  Wind   273   6.5%
  Biomass (total)    58
   1.4%
    Wood    41   1.0%
    Landfill gas    11   0.3%
    Municipal solid waste (biogenic)     7   0.2%
    Other biomass waste     -1  <0.1%
  Solar (total)     64
   1.5%
    Photovoltaic    60
   1.4%
    Solar thermal     4
   0.1%
  Geothermal     16   0.4%
Pumped storage hydropower3     -6   -0.1%
Other sources     13   0.3%

1 Includes utility-scale electricity generation, which is electricity generation from power plants with at least one megawatt (or 1,000 kilowatts) of total electricity generating capacity.
2 Small-scale solar photovoltaic systems are electricity generators with less than one megawatt of electricity generating capacity that are usually at or near the location where the electricity is consumed. Most small-scale solar photovoltaic systems are installed on building rooftops.
3 Pumped storage hydroelectricity generation is negative because most pumped storage electricity generation facilities use more electricity than they produce on an annual basis. Most pumped storage systems use fossil fuels or nuclear energy for pumping water to the storage component of the system.

Learn more:
Electric Power Monthly: Chapter 1: Net Generation
Electric Power Annual: Chapter 3: Net Generation
Monthly Energy Review: Electricity
Energy Explained: Electricity in the United States

Last updated: October 25, 2019


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