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Primary energy

Primary energy:  Energy in the form that it is first accounted for in a statistical energy balance, before any transformation to secondary or tertiary forms of energy. For example, coal can be converted to synthetic gas, which can be converted to electricity; in this example, coal is primary energy, synthetic gas is secondary energy, and electricity is tertiary energy. See Primary energy production and Primary energy consumption.

Primary energy consumption:  Consumption of primary energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration includes the following in U.S. primary energy consumption:

  • Coal consumption
  • Coal coke net imports
  • Petroleum consumption (petroleum products supplied)
  • Dry natural gas—excluding supplemental gaseous fuels—consumption
  • Nuclear electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the average annual heat rate of nuclear plants)
  • Conventional hydroelectricity net generation (converted to Btu using the average annual heat rate of fossil-fuel fired plants)
  • Geothermal electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the average annual heat rate of fossil-fuel fired plants), geothermal heat pump energy and geothermal direct-use energy
  • Solar thermal and photovoltaic electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the average annual heat rate of fossil-fuel fired plants)
  • Solar thermal direct-use energy
  • Wind electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the average annual heat rate of fossil-fuel fired plants)
  • Wood and wood-derived fuels consumption
  • Biomass waste consumption
  • Fuel ethanol and biodiesel consumption
  • Losses and co-products from the production of fuel ethanol and biodiesel
  • Electricity net imports (converted to Btu using the electricity heat content of 3,412 Btu per kilowatthour)
Primary energy consumption also includes all non-combustion uses of fossil fuels. Energy sources produced from other energy sources—e.g., coal coke from coal—are included in primary energy consumption only if their energy content has not already been included as part of the original energy source. As a result, U.S. primary energy consumption does include net imports of coal coke, but it does not include the coal coke produced from domestic coal.

Primary energy consumption expenditures:  Expenditures for energy consumed in each of the four major end-use sectors, excluding energy in the form of electricity, plus expenditures by the electric utilities sector for energy used to generate electricity. There are no fuel-associated expenditures for associated expenditures for hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, photovoltaic and solar energy, or wind energy. Also excluded are the quantifiable consumption expenditures that are an integral part of process fuel consumption.

Primary energy production:  Production of primary energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration includes the following in U.S. primary energy production: coal production, waste coal supplied, and coal refuse recovery; crude oil and lease condensate production; natural gas plant liquids production; dry natural gas excluding supplemental gaseous fuels production; nuclear electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the nuclear plant heat rates); conventional hydroelectricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates); geothermal electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates), and geothermal heat pump energy and geothermal direct use energy; solar thermal and photovoltaic electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates), and solar thermal direct use energy; wind electricity net generation (converted to Btu using the fossil-fuels plant heat rates); wood and wood-derived fuels consumption; biomass waste consumption; and biofuels feedstock.