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U.S. energy consumption from renewable sources surpasses coal
How do you feel about trends in U.S. energy consumption?
By Eric Revell, Countable News
What’s the story?
- U.S. energy consumption from renewable sources ― including hydroelectric, wind, and solar ― surpassed the consumption of energy from coal for the first time in 2019.
- Coal consumption peaked at 22.75 quadrillion BTUs in 2007, which is enough power to provide for the needs of 73.6 million people for one year. But it has been on a steady decline since then to 11.32 quadrillion BTUs by 2019, while renewables increased 74% from 6.52 quadrillion BTUs to 11.35 quadrillion BTUs in the same period as this USAFacts chart shows:
- While coal and renewable resources combined account for 22% of U.S. energy consumption in 2019, about 70% came from petroleum (36.86 quadrillion BTUs) and natural gas (32.2 quadrillion BTUs), while the remainder came from nuclear energy (8.5 quadrillion BTUs).
- All but two states (Alaska and Nebraska) decreased their coal consumption between 2007 and 2019, and the number of coal-fired power plants declined 48% from 593 in 2009 to 308 in 2019.
- The decline of coal as an energy source has caused a corresponding drop in coal mining employment. Over 175,000 Americans were employed in coal mining in 1985, but that number declined to about 80,000 by 2010 and has further decreased to 43,000 Americans in February 2021 as this USAFacts chart shows:
- Coal production has followed a similar trend ― after steadily rising from around 8 quadrillion BTUs in the early 1960s to its peak of 22 quadrillion BTUs in 2008, coal production has declined to just over 13 quadrillion BTUs in 2019 as this USAFacts chart shows:
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Ignatiev)
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