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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

In 2020, about 4,009 billion kilowatthours (kWh) (or about 4.01 trillion kWh) of electricity were generated at utility-scale electricity generation facilities in the United States.1 About 60% of this electricity generation was from fossil fuels—coal, natural gas, petroleum, and other gases. About 20% was from nuclear energy, and about 20% was from renewable energy sources.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that an additional 42 billion kWh of electricity generation was from small-scale solar photovoltaic systems in 2020.2

U.S. utility-scale electricity generation by source, amount, and share of total in 20201
Preliminary data as of February 2021
Energy sourceBillion kWhShare of total
Total - all sources4,009
Fossil fuels (total)2,41960.3%
Natural Gas1,61740.3%
Coal774
19.3%
Petroleum (total)17
0.4%
Petroleum liquids100.2%
Petroleum coke8
0.2%
Other gases110.3%
Nuclear79019.7%
Renewables (total)79219.8%
Wind338
8.4%
Hydropower2917.3%
Solar (total)
91
2.3%
Photovoltaic88
2.2%
Solar thermal3
0.1%
Biomass (total)561.4%
Wood370.9%
Landfill gas100.3%
Municipal solid waste (biogenic)6
0.2%
Other biomass waste2
0.1%
Geothermal170.4%
Pumped storage hydropower3-5-0.1%
Other sources4130.3%

1Utility-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 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.
4 Other 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 5, 2021


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