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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

In 2021, about 4,116 billion kilowatthours (kWh) (or about 4.12 trillion kWh) of electricity were generated at utility-scale electricity generation facilities in the United States.1 About 61% of this electricity generation was from fossil fuels—coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases. About 19% was from nuclear energy, and about 20% was from renewable energy sources.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that an additional 49 billion kWh of electricity generation was from small-scale solar photovoltaic systems in 2021.2

U.S. utility-scale electricity generation by source, amount, and share of total in 20211
Preliminary data as of February 2022

Energy sourceBillion kWhShare of total
Total - all sources4,116
Fossil fuels (total)2,50460.8%
Natural gas1,57538.3%
Coal899
21.8%
Petroleum (total)19
0.5%
Petroleum liquids110.3%
Petroleum coke70.2%
Other gases3110.3%
Nuclear77818.9%
Renewables (total)82620.1%
Wind380
9.2%
Hydropower2606.3%
Solar (total)
115
2.8%
Photovoltaic112
2.8%
Solar thermal3
0.1%
Biomass (total)551.3%
Wood370.9%
Landfill gas100.2%
Municipal solid waste (biogenic)6
0.2%
Other biomass waste2
0.1%
Geothermal160.4%
Pumped storage hydropower4-5-0.1%
Other sources5120.3%
1 Utility-scale electricity generation is electricity generation from power plants with at least one megawatt (or 1,000 kilowatts) of total electricity generating capacity. Data are for net electricity generation.
2 Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are electricity generators with less than one megawatt (MW) of electricity generating capacity, which are not connected at a power plant that has a combined capacity of one MW or larger. Most small-scale PV systems are at or near the location where the electricity is consumed and many are net metered systems. The smaller ones are usually installed on building rooftops.
3 Other gases includes blast furnace gas and other manufactured and waste gases derived from fossil fuels.
4 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.
5 Other (utility-scale) sources includes non-biogenic municipal solid waste, batteries, hydrogen, purchased steam, sulfur, tire-derived fuel, and other miscellaneous energy sources.

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: March 4, 2022, with data from the Electric Power Monthly, February 2022. Data are preliminary for 2021.


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