The United States was the second-largest energy consumer in 2010 after China. The country is ranked seventh in energy consumption per capita after Canada and several small nations. Not included is the significant amount of energy used overseas in the production of retail and industrial goods consumed in the United States.
Most of this energy comes from fossil fuels: in 2010, data showed that 25% of the nation's energy originates from petroleum, 22% from coal, and 22% from natural gas. Nuclear energy supplied 8.4% and renewable energy supplied 8%, mainly from hydroelectric dams and biomass; however, this also includes other renewable sources like wind, geothermal, and solar. As of 2006, energy consumption had increased more rapidly than domestic energy production over the last 50 years in the nation (when they were roughly equal). This difference was largely met through imports.
According to the Energy Information Administration's statistics, the per-capita energy consumption in the US has been somewhat consistent from the 1970s to the present time. The average was about 334 million British thermal units [BTU] (352 GJ) per person from 1980 to 2010. One explanation suggested that the energy required to increase the nation's consumption of manufactured equipment, cars, and other goods has been shifted to other countries producing and transporting those goods to the US with a corresponding shift of green house gases and pollution. In comparison, the world average increased from 63.7 to 75 million BTU (67.2 to 79.1 GJ) per person between 1980 and 2008.
From its founding until the late 19th century, the United States was a largely agrarian country with abundant forests. During this period, energy consumption overwhelmingly focused on readily available firewood. Rapid industrialization of the economy, urbanization, and the growth of railroads led to increased use of coal, and by 1885 it had eclipsed wood as the nation's primary energy source.
Coal remained dominant for the next seven decades, but by 1950, it was surpassed in turn by both petroleum and natural gas. The 1973 oil embargo precipitated an energy crisis in the United States. In 2007, coal consumption was the highest it has ever been, with it mostly being used to generate electricity. Natural gas has replaced coal as the preferred source of heating in homes, businesses, and industrial furnaces, which burns cleaner and is easier to transport.
Although total energy use increased by approximately a factor of 50 between 1850 and 2000, energy use per capita increased only by a factor of four. As of 2009, United States per-capita energy use had declined to 7.075 tonnes of oil equivalent (296.2 GJ), 12% less than 2000, and in 2010, to levels not seen since the 1960s. At the beginning of the 20th century, petroleum was a minor resource used to manufacture lubricants and fuel for kerosene and oil lamps. One hundred years later it had become the preeminent energy source for the United States and the rest of the world. This rise closely paralleled the emergence of the automobile as a major force in American culture and the economy.
While petroleum is also used as a source for plastics and other chemicals, and powers various industrial processes, today two-thirds of oil consumption in the US is in the form of its derived transportation fuels. Oil's unique qualities for transportation fuels in terms of energy content, cost of production, and speed of refueling all contributed to it being used over other fuels.
In June 2010, the American Energy Innovation Council, a group which includes Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft; Jeffrey R. Immelt, chief executive of General Electric; and John Doerr, has urged the government to more than triple spending on energy research and development—to $16 billion a year. Gates endorsed the administration's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, but said that was not possible with today's technology or politicism. He said that the only way to find such disruptive new technology was to pour large sums of money at the problem. The group notes that the federal government spends less than $5 billion a year on energy research and development, not counting one-time stimulus projects. About $30 billion is spent annually on health research and more than $80 billion on military research and development. They advocate for a jump in spending on basic energy research.
| Mtoe = 41,868 TJ>, Prim. energy includes energy losses that are 2/3 for nuclear power
2012R = CO2 calculation criteria changed, numbers updated
|Supply sources||Percent of source||Demand sectors||Percent of sector|
5% Residential and commercial
1% Electric power
3% Natural gas
5% Renewable energy
28% Residential and commercial
34% Electric power
45% Natural gas
12% Renewable energy
<1% Residential and commercial
91% Electric power
|Residential and commercial
76% Natural gas
8% Renewable energy
7% Residential and commercial
57% Electric power
26% Natural gas
17% Renewable energy
23% Nuclear electric power
|Nuclear electric power
|100% Electric power|
Note: Sum of components may not equal 100% due to independent rounding.
Primary energy use in the United States was 90,558 petajoules [PJ] (25,155 TWh) or about 294,480 megajoules [MJ] (81,800 kWh) per person in 2009. Primary energy use was 3,960 PJ (1,100 TWh) less in the United States than in China in 2009. The share of energy import was 26% of the primary energy use. The energy import declined about 22% and the annual CO2 emissions about 10% in 2009 compared to 2004.
|Fuel type||United States||World|
solar, wood, waste
Oil is one of the largest sources of energy in the United States. The United States influences world oil reserves for both growth and development. As the 20th century progressed, petroleum gained increasing importance by providing heating and electricity to the commercial and industrial sectors. Oil was also used in transportation; first for railroads and later for motor vehicles.
As automobiles became more affordable, demand for oil quickly rose. Since the rise of the automobile industry, oil price, demand, and production have all increased as well. Between 1900 and 1980, fuel was directly correlated with Gross National Product (GNP). Furthermore, oil shocks have often coincided with recessions, and the government has responded to oil shocks in several ways. In the 1920s, oil prices were peaking and many commentators believed that oil supplies were running out. Congress was confronted by requests to augment supplies, so a generous depletion allowance was enacted for producers in 1926, which increased investment returns substantially. This change induced additional exploration activity, and subsequently the discovery of large new oil reservoirs.
In the next decade the situation was reversed with prices low and dropping. This resulted in demands for more "orderly" competition and set minimum oil prices. Rather than repealing the previous policies enacted in the 1920s, Congress enacted a price-support system. Similar cycles have occurred in the 1950s and 1970s.
Natural gas was the largest source of energy production in the United States in 2016, representing 33% of all energy produced in the country. Natural gas has been the largest source of electrical generation in the United States since July 2015.
The United States has been the world's largest producer of natural gas since 2009, when it surpassed Russia. US natural gas production achieved new record highs for each year from 2011 through 2015. Marketed natural gas production in 2015 was 28.8 trillion cubic feet (820 billion cubic metres), a 5.4% increase over 2014, and a 52% increase over the production of 18.9 trillion cu ft (540 billion m3) per day in 2005.
Because of the greater supply, consumer prices for natural gas are significantly lower in the United States than in Europe and Japan. The low price of natural gas, together with its smaller carbon footprint compared to coal, has encouraged a rapid growth in electricity generated from natural gas.
Between 2005 and 2014, US production of natural gas liquids (NGLs) increased 70%, from 1.74 million barrels of oil equivalent (10.6 PJ) per day in 2005 to 2.96 million barrels of oil equivalent (18.1 PJ) per day in 2014. The US has been the world's leading producer of natural gas liquids since 2010, when US NGL production passed that of Saudi Arabia.
Although the United States leads the world in natural gas production, it is only fifth in proved reserves of natural gas, behind Russia, Iran, Qatar, and Turkmenistan.
Generation of electricity is the largest user of coal, although its use is in decline. About 50% of electric power was produced by coal in 2005, declining to 30% in 2016.:1 Electric utilities buy more than 90% of the coal consumed in the United States.
The United States is a net exporter of coal. Coal exports, for which Europe is the largest customer, peaked in 2012 and have declined since. In 2015, the US exported 7.0% of mined coal.
Coal has been used to generate electricity in the United States since an Edison plant was built in New York City in 1882. The first AC power station was opened by General Electric in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania in 1902, servicing the Webster Coal and Coke Company. By the mid-20th century, coal had become the leading fuel for generating electricity in the US. The long, steady rise of coal-fired generation of electricity shifted to a decline after 2007. The decline has been linked to the increased availability of natural gas, decreased consumption, renewable electricity, and more stringent environmental regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency has advanced restrictions on coal plants to counteract mercury pollution, smog, and global warming.
The US Department of Energy tracks national energy consumption in four broad sectors: industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial. The industrial sector has long been the country's largest energy user, currently representing about 33% of the total. Next in importance is the transportation sector followed by the residential and commercial sectors.
|Sector name||Description||Major uses|
|Industrial||Facilities and equipment used for producing and processing goods.||22% chemical production|
16% petroleum refining
14% metal smelting/refining
|Transportation||Vehicles which transport people/goods on ground, air, or water.||61% gasoline fuel|
21% diesel fuel
|Residential||Living quarters for private households.||32% space heating|
13% water heating
11% air conditioning
5% wet-clean (mostly clothes dryers)
|Commercial||Service-providing facilities and equipment (businesses, government, other institutions).||25% lighting|
6% water heating
Household energy use varies significantly across the United States. An average home in the Pacific region (consisting of California, Oregon, and Washington) consumes 35% less energy than a home in the South Central region. Some of the regional differences can be explained by climate. The heavily populated coastal areas of the Pacific states experience generally mild winters and summers, reducing the need for both home heating and air conditioning. The warm, humid climates of the South Central and South Atlantic regions lead to higher electricity usage, while the cold winters experienced in the Northeast and North Central regions result in much higher consumption of natural gas and heating oil. The state with the lowest per-capita energy use is New York, at 205 million BTU (216 GJ) per year, and the highest is Wyoming, at slightly over 1 billion BTU (1,100 GJ) per year.
Other regional differences stem from energy efficiency measures taken at the local and state levels. California has some of the strictest environmental laws and building codes in the country, leading its per-household energy consumption to be lower than all other states except Hawaii.
The land-use decisions of cities and towns also explain some of the regional differences in energy use. Townhouses are more energy efficient than single-family homes because less heat, for example, is wasted per person. Similarly, areas with more homes in a compact neighborhood encourage walking, biking and transit, thereby reducing transportation energy use. A 2011 US EPA study found that multi-family homes in urban neighborhoods, with well-insulated buildings and fuel-efficient cars, can save more than 2/3 of the energy used by conventionally built single-family houses in suburban areas (with standard cars).
The United States is the world's second largest producer and consumer of electricity. It consumes about 20% of the world's electricity supply. This section provides a summary of the consumption and generation of the nation's electric industry, based on data mined from US DOE Energy Information Administration/Electric Power Annual 2017 files. Data was obtained from the most recent DOE Energy Information Agency (EIA) files. Consumption is detailed from the residential, commercial, industrial, and other user communities. Generation is detailed for the major fuel sources of coal, natural gas, nuclear, petroleum, hydro, and the other renewables of wind, wood, other biomass, geothermal, and solar. Changes to the electrical energy fuel mix and other trends are identified. Progress in wind and solar contributing to the energy mix are addressed. Expected changes in the generation environment during the next 5 years are discussed.
Electricity consumption data in this section is based upon data mined from US DOE Energy Information Administration/Electric Power Annual 2017 files In 2017, the total US consumption of electricity was 4,090.6 terawatt-hours [TWh] (14,726 PJ). Consumption was essentially down from 2016 with a reduction of 45.5 TWh (164 PJ) or 1.0% drop. This is broken down as:
In addition to consumption from the electrical grid, the US consumers consumed an estimated additional 23.99 TWh (86.4 PJ) from small-scale solar systems. This will be included in the per-capita data below.
Electricity consumption per capita is based upon data mined from US DOE Energy Information Administration/Electric Power Annual 2017 files Population data is from Demographics of the United States. Per-capita consumption in 2017 is 12,632 kWh (45,480 MJ). This is down 229 kWh (820 MJ) from 2016, down 7.5% from a decade ago, and down 8.0% from its peak in 2007. The following table shows the yearly US per-capita consumption from 2013 to 2017.
|Year||Population (Millions)||Per-capita consumption (kWh)|
A profile of the electric energy consumption for 2017 is shown in the following graph. The February minimum of 295 TWh (1,060 PJ) to the July peak of 410 TWh (1,500 PJ) shows the monthly range of consumption variations.
The United States has an installed summer electricity generation capacity of 1,072.46 GW in 2017, down 1.8 GW from 2016. The US electricity generation was 4,034.3 TWh (14,523 PJ) in 2017. The US's net imports were 56.31 TWh (202.7 PJ), for a total of 4,090.6 TWh (14,726 PJ) of electrical energy use. Electrical energy generated from coal was 1,205.84 TWh or 4,341.0 PJ (29.48%); natural and other gases, 1,3908.89 TWh (32.0%); nuclear, 804.95 TWh or 2,897.8 PJ (19.68%); hydro, 300.33 TWh or 1,081.2 PJ (7.34%); Renewables (other than hydro), 386.28 TWh or 1,390.6 PJ (9.45%); imports less exports, 56.31 TWh or 202.7 PJ (1.38%); petroleum, 21.39 TWh or 77.0 PJ (0.52%); and miscellaneous (including pumped storage), 6.59 TWh or 23.7 PJ (0.16%). The US's renewable sources (hydro reported separately) are wind, 254.30 TWh or 915.5 PJ (6.22%); wood, 41.15 TWh or 148.1 PJ (1.01%); other biomass, 21.61 TWh or 77.8 PJ (0.53% ); geothermal, 15.93 TWh or 57.3 PJ (0.39%) and solar, 53.29 TWh or 191.8 PJ (1.3%). Small-scale solar is estimated to have produced an additional 23.99 TWh (86.4 PJ). Natural gas electricity generation exceeded generation from coal for the first time in 2016 and continued in 2017.
The following tables summarize the electrical energy generated by fuel source for the United States. Data from Electric Power Annual 2017 was used throughout this section.
|Power source||Generators||Summer capacity (GW)||% of total capacity||Capacity factor||Annual energy (TWh)||% of total US|
|Power source||Summer capacity (GW)||% of renewable capacity||% of total capacity||Capacity factor||Total generation (TWh)||% of renewable energy||% of total|
Note: Biomass includes wood and wood derived fuel, landfill gas, biogenic municipal solid waste, and other waste biomass.
Notes: 1 Gas includes natural gas and other gases. 2 Hydro excludes pumped storage (not an energy source, used by all sources, other than hydro). 3 Solar includes photovoltaics and thermal. 4 Bio other includes waste, landfill gas, and other. 5 Misc. includes misc. generation, pumped storage, and net imports. 6 Total includes net imports. 7 2018 data is from Electric Power Monthly and does not include import-export data.
Individual states have very diverse electric generation systems, and their new initiatives to expand their generation base are equally diverse. Coupled with consumption disparages, it leads to a mix of "have" and "have not" electric energy states. Using the data from the US DOE Energy Information Administration/Electric Power Annual 2017 files. Data was obtained from the most recent DOE Energy Information Agency (EIA) full year files. Full use of the excellent EIA data browser permits easy access to the plethora of data available.
The following table, derived from data mined from Electric Power Annual, identifies those states which must import electrical energy from neighboring states to meet their consumption needs. Each state's total electric generation for 2017 is compared with the state's consumption, and its share of the system loss and the difference between the generated electric energy and its total consumption (including its share of the system loss) is the amount of energy it imports. For Hawaii, total consumption equals generated energy. For the other states, multiplying their direct consumption by 1.098744069 (4080770384/3714031773), results in the US's supply (including net imports) being equal to its total consumption.
|Retail sales (MWh)||Total usage (MWh)||MWh||% 2017||% 2016||Change|
The following table, derived from data mined from Electric Power Annual, identifies those states which generate more electrical energy than they need to meet their consumption needs. They supply those that need additional energy. Each state's total electric generation for 2017 is compared with the state's consumption, and its share of the system loses and the difference between the generated electric energy and its total consumption (including its share of the system losses) is the amount of energy it exports. For Hawaii, total consumption equals generated energy. For the other states, multiplying their direct consumption by 1.098744069 (4080770384/3714031773) results in the US's supply (including net imports) being equal to its total consumption usage. A state exported energy is determined by subtracting the state's total consumption from its generation.
|Retail sales (MWh)||Total usage (MWh)||MWh||% 2017||% 2016||Change|
Renewable energy in the United States accounted for 13.2% of the domestically produced electricity in 2014, and 11.2% of total energy generation. As of 2014, more than 143,000 people work in the solar industry and 43 states deploy net metering, where energy utilities buy back excess energy generated by solar arrays.
Renewable energy reached a major milestone in the first quarter of 2011, when it contributed 11.7% of total US energy production (2.245 quadrillion BTU or 2.369 EJ of energy), surpassing nuclear energy production (2.125 quadrillion BTU or 2.242 EJ). 2011 was the first year since 1997 that renewables exceeded nuclear in total US energy production.
Hydroelectric power is currently the largest producer of renewable energy in the US. It produced around 6.2% of the nation's total electricity in 2010 which was 60.2% of the total renewable energy in the US. The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Canada, and Brazil. The Grand Coulee Dam is the 5th largest hydroelectric power station in the world.
US wind power's installed capacity now exceeds 65,000 MW and supplies 4% of the nation's electric power. Texas is firmly established as the leader in wind power development followed by Iowa and California.
The United States has some of the largest solar farms in the world. Solar Star is a 579-megawatt (MWAC) farm near Rosamond, California. The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550-megawatt solar power plant in Riverside County, California and the Topaz Solar Farm, a 550 MW photovoltaic power plant, is in San Luis Obispo County, California. The solar thermal SEGS group of plants in the Mojave Desert has a total generating capacity of 354 MW.
The development of renewable energy and efficient energy use marks "a new era of energy exploration" in the United States, according to President Barack Obama. Studies suggest that if there is enough political will, it is feasible to supply the whole United States with 100% renewable energy by 2050.
In 2015, electrical energy usage in the United States was 1.6% more than in 2005 and 1% less than the peak in 2007. Per-capita consumption has decreased about 7% since its peak in 2007 and every year since has shown a decrease in individual consumption. Conservation efforts are helping. At least, for the next decade, coal, natural gas, and nuclear will remain the top three fuels for electric energy generation in the USA. Coal will continuously decrease its contribution, with natural gas increasing its contribution. Nuclear will have some downs (decommissionings) and ups (new online plants) but probably remain about constant. Hydro will maintain. Petroleum will continue to decrease in importance. Wind and solar will continue to grow in importance; their combined generation was 5.29% of US electric generation for 2015 or 5.20% of total US consumption.
From the beginning of the United States until 1973, total energy (including electrical) use increased by about 3% per year, while population increased an average of 2.2% per year. Per-capita energy use from 1730 to 1870 was about 100 million BTU (110 GJ) per person. In the 20th century this increased to around 300 million BTU or 320 GJ (332 million BTU or 350 GJ per person per year in 1981).
In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said the US would need "at least 1,300 new power plants over the next 20 years."
Efficiency improvements could cause energy use to drop considerably.
A concentrating solar array (CSP) with thermal storage has a practical capacity factor of 33% and could provide power 24 hours a day. Prior to 2012, in six southwestern states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owned nearly 98 million acres or 400,000 square kilometres (an area larger than the state of Montana) that was open to proposals for solar power installations. To streamline consideration of applications, the BLM produced a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). By the subsequent Record of Decision in October 2012, the BLM withdrew 78% of its land from possible solar development, leaving 19 million acres (77,000 km2) still open to applications for solar installations, an area nearly as large as South Carolina. Of the area left open to solar proposals, the BLM has identified 285,000 acres (115,000 ha) in highly favorable areas it calls Solar Energy Zones. In Spain, with natural gas backups, CSP has reached a capacity factor of 66%, with 75% being a theoretical maximum.
Increased competition from cheap natural gas is responsible for 49% of the decline in domestic US coal consumption. Lower-than-expected demand is responsible for 26 percent, and the growth in renewable energy is responsible for 18 percent.
Alternative Earth Resources Inc. is an emerging renewable energy developer focused on producing clean, sustainable geothermal electric power from high temperature geothermal resources in the United States. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company has six geothermal projects in the Western United States. Despite federal government loan guarantees, the company is facing financial trouble and there is "significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern".American Solar Energy Society
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is an association of solar professionals and advocates in the United States. Founded in 1954, ASES is dedicated to inspiring an era of energy innovation and speeding the transition toward a sustainable energy economy. The nonprofit advances education, research and policy.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, ASES is the American affiliate of the International Solar Energy Society.
ASES publishes Solar Today magazine, organizes the National Solar Tour, produces the National Solar Energy Conference National Solar Conference and World Renewable Energy Forum 2012, and advocates for policies to promote the research, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy.Bonneville Power Administration
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is an American federal agency operating in the Pacific Northwest. BPA was created by an act of Congress in 1937 to market electric power from the Bonneville Dam located on the Columbia River and to construct facilities necessary to transmit that power. Congress has since designated Bonneville to be the marketing agent for power from all of the federally owned hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest. Bonneville is one of four regional Federal power marketing agencies within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor
The Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) is a passively safe generation III+ reactor design derived from its predecessor, the Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (SBWR) and from the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). All are designs by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), and are based on previous Boiling Water Reactor designs.GE BWR
General Electric's BWR product line of Boiling Water Reactors represents the designs of a large percentage of the commercial fission reactors around the world.Geothermal energy in the United States
Geothermal energy in the United States was first used for electric power production in 1960. The Geysers in California was developed into what is now the largest geothermal steam electrical plant in the world, at 750 megawatts. Other geothermal steam fields are known in the western United States and Alaska. Geothermally-generated electric power can be dispatchable to follow the demands of changing loads. Environmental impact of this energy source includes hydrogen sulfide emissions, corrosive or saline chemicals discharged in waste water, possible seismic effects from water injection into rock formations, wast heat and noise.Licensed to Kill?
Licensed to Kill? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Shoreham Power Plant, a 1998 book by Joan Aron, presents the first detailed case study of how an activist public and elected officials of New York state opposed the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on Long Island. The book explains that nuclear power faltered when "public concerns about health, safety, and the environment superseded other interests about national security or energy supplies".Aron argues that the Shoreham closure resulted from the collapse of public trust for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the entire nuclear industry. For Aron, the unwillingness of the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) management to consider true public interest in the debate resulted in "the loss of the goodwill of its customers". Also, the willingness of LILCO to press on with plans for Shoreham despite changes in the economics of nuclear power and market demand "reflected a basic failure of foresight".New Energy for America
New Energy for America was a plan led by Barack Obama and Joe Biden to invest in renewable energy sources, reduce reliance on foreign oil, address global warming issues, and create jobs for Americans.Nuclear Implosions
Nuclear Implosions: The Rise and Fall of the Washington Public Power Supply System is a 2008 book by Daniel Pope, a history professor at the University of Oregon, which traces the history of the Washington Public Power Supply System, a public agency which undertook to build five large nuclear power plants, one of the most ambitious U.S. construction projects in the 1970s.
By 1983, cost overruns and delays, along with a slowing of electricity demand growth, led to cancellation of two plants and a construction halt on two others. Moreover, the agency defaulted on $2.25 billion of municipal bonds, which is still the largest municipal bond default in U.S. history. The court case that followed took nearly a decade to resolve.Nuclear power in the United States
Nuclear power in the United States is provided by 99 commercial reactors with a net capacity of 100,350 megawatts (MW), 65 pressurized water reactors and 34 boiling water reactors. In 2016 they produced a total of 805.3 terawatt-hours of electricity, which accounted for 19.7% of the nation's total electric energy generation. In 2016, nuclear energy comprised nearly 60 percent of U.S. emission-free generation.As of September 2017, there are two new reactors under construction with a gross electrical capacity of 2,500 MW, while 34 reactors have been permanently shut down. The United States is the world's largest producer of commercial nuclear power, and in 2013 generated 33% of the world's nuclear electricity.As of October 2014, the NRC has granted license renewals providing a 20-year extension to a total of 74 reactors. In early 2014, the NRC prepared to receive the first applications of license renewal beyond 60 years of reactor life, as early as 2017, a process which by law requires public involvement. Licenses for 22 reactors are due to expire before the end of the next decade if no renewals are granted. The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station was the most recent nuclear power plant to be decommissioned, on October 24, 2016. Another five aging reactors were permanently closed in 2013 and 2014 before their licenses expired because of high maintenance and repair costs at a time when natural gas prices have fallen: San Onofre 2 and 3 in California, Crystal River 3 in Florida, Vermont Yankee in Vermont, and Kewaunee in Wisconsin, and New York State is seeking to close Indian Point in Buchanan, 30 miles from New York City.Most reactors began construction by 1974; following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 and changing economics, many planned projects were canceled. More than 100 orders for nuclear power reactors, many already under construction, were canceled in the 1970s and 1980s, bankrupting some companies. Up until 2013, there had also been no ground-breaking on new nuclear reactors at existing power plants since 1977. Then in 2012, the NRC approved construction of four new reactors at existing nuclear plants. Construction of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station Units 2 and 3 began on March 9, 2013 but was abandoned on July 31, 2017 after the reactor supplier Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection on March 29, 2017. On March 12, 2013 construction began on the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Units 3 and 4, the target in-service date for Unit 3 is November 2021. On October 19, 2016 TVA's Unit-2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station became the first US reactor to enter commercial operation since 1996.There was a revival of interest in nuclear power in the 2000s, with talk of a "nuclear renaissance", supported particularly by the Nuclear Power 2010 Program. A number of applications were made, but facing economic challenges, and later in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, most of these projects have been cancelled, and as of 2012, "nuclear industry officials said in 2012 they expect five new reactors to enter service by 2020 – Southern's two Vogtle reactors, two at Summer in South Carolina and one at Watts Bar in Tennessee"; these are all at existing plants. As of August 1, 2017, Watts Bar is operating, there are construction delays at Vogtle and construction at Summer has been abandoned.PACE financing
PACE financing (property assessed clean energy financing) is a means of financing energy efficiency upgrades, disaster resiliency improvements, water conservation measures, or renewable energy installations of residential, commercial, and industrial property owners. Depending on state legislation, PACE financing can be used to finance building envelope energy efficiency improvements such as insulation and air sealing, cool roofs, water efficiency products, seismic retrofits, and hurricane preparedness measures. In some states, commercial PACE financing can also fund a portion of new construction projects, as long as the building owner agrees to build the new structure to exceed the local energy code.
Examples of energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades range from adding more attic insulation to installing rooftop solar panels for residential projects and chillers, boilers, LED lighting and roofing for commercial projects. In areas with PACE legislation in place, governments offer a specific bond to investors or in the case of the open-market model, private lenders provide financing to the building owners to put towards an energy retrofit. The loans are repaid over the selected term (over the course of somewhere between 5 and 25 years) via an annual assessment on their property tax bill. PACE bonds can be issued by municipal financing districts, state agencies or finance companies and the proceeds can be used to retrofit both commercial and residential properties. One of the most notable characteristics of PACE programs is that the loan is attached to the property rather than an individual. A PACE loan is therefore said to be nonrecourse to the borrower.PACE can also be used to finance leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). In this structure, the PACE property tax assessment is used to collect a lease payment of services fee. The primary benefit of this approach is that project costs may be lower due to the provider retaining the tax incentives and passing the benefit on to the property owner as a lower lease or services payment.
PACE programs help home and business owners pay for the upfront costs of green initiatives, such as solar panels, which the property owner then pays back by increasing property taxes by a set rate for an agreed-upon term ranging from 5–25 years. This allows property owners to begin saving on energy costs while they are paying for their solar panels. This usually means that property owners have net gains even with increased property tax.Renewable energy in the United States
Renewable energy accounted for 12.2 % of total primary energy consumption and 14.94 % of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in 2016.Hydroelectric power is currently the largest producer of renewable electricity in the country, generating around 6.5% of the nation's total electricity in 2016 as well as 45.71% of the total renewable electricity generation.
The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Canada and Brazil.
The next largest share of renewable power was provided by wind power at 5.55% of total power production, amounting to 226.5 terawatt-hours during 2016. By January 2017, the United States nameplate generating capacity for wind power was 82,183 megawatts (MW). Texas remained firmly established as the leader in wind power deployment, followed by Iowa and Oklahoma as of year end 2016.Solar power provides a growing share of electricity in the country, with over 50 GW of installed capacity generating about 1.3% of the country's total electricity supply in 2017, up from 0.9% the previous year.
As of 2016, more than 260,000 people worked in the solar industry and 43 states deployed net metering, where energy utilities bought back excess power generated by solar arrays. Large photovoltaic power plants in the United States include Mount Signal Solar (600 MW) and Solar Star (579 MW). Since the United States pioneered solar thermal power technology in the 1980s with Solar One, several more such power stations have been built. The largest of these solar thermal power stations are the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (392 MW), southwest of Las Vegas, and the SEGS group of plants in the Mojave Desert, with a total generating capacity of 354 MW.Other renewable energy sources include geothermal, with The Geysers in Northern California the largest geothermal complex in the world.
The development of renewable energy and energy efficiency marked "a new era of energy exploration" in the United States, according to former President Barack Obama. In a joint address to the Congress on February 24, 2009, President Obama called for doubling renewable energy within the following three years. Renewable energy reached a major milestone in the first quarter of 2011, when it contributed 11.7 % of total national energy production (2.245 quadrillion BTU of energy), surpassing energy production from nuclear power (2.125 quadrillion BTU) for the first time since 1997.
In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama restated his commitment to renewable energy and mentioned the long-standing Interior Department commitment to permit 10,000 MW of renewable energy projects on public land in 2012.Rural Utilities Service
The United States Rural Utilities Service (RUS) administers programs that provide infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities. These include water and waste treatment, electric power, and telecommunications services. it is an operating unit of the USDA Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was created in 1935 as the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), a New Deal agency promoting rural electrification.
A total of 890 rural electric and 800 rural telecommunications utilities in 47 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia have received financial assistance. Approximately 7,200 rural communities are served through financial assistance received from water and waste loans and grants.The RUS administers the following programs:
Water and Environmental: provides financial assistance for drinking water, sanitary sewer, solid waste and storm drainage facilities in rural areas and communities with a population of 10,000 or less.
Electric Programs: help maintain, expand, upgrade and modernize the rural electric infrastructure. It also supports demand-side management, energy efficiency and conservation programs, and on-and off-grid renewable energy systems.
Telecommunications: helps deploy the rural telecommunications infrastructure.Solar Energy Industries Association
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), established in 1974, is a national non-profit trade association of the solar-energy industry in the United States.
SEIA is a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association. SEIA's sister organization, The Solar Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization, oversees policy-driven research and develops education & outreach programs to promote the further development of solar energy in the U.S.The association supports the extension of a 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit for eight years.With the recent high flux of green jobs in the solar industry, SEIA maintains a resource for those looking for solar jobs. The Harvard Business Review claims that the solar industry could absorb all of the jobs lost to the coal industry as it shutters. Solar already employs more people than the entire US coal industry.The Cult of the Atom
The Cult of the Atom: The Secret Papers of the Atomic Energy Commission is a 1982 book by Daniel Ford. Ford is an economist and former director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who used the Freedom of Information Act to access thousands of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) documents. The AEC was the predecessor of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.The Cult of the Atom is a piece of political literature that discusses issues brought up by the nuclear disarmament movement.U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), co-founded by Mike Italiano, David Gottfried and Rick Fedrizzi in 1993, is a private 501(c)3, membership-based non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation. USGBC is best known for its development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems and its annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. USGBC was one of eight national councils that helped found the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC). The current president and CEO is Mahesh Ramanujam who acquired this role in January 2017 after co-founder Rick Fedrizzi.
Through its partnership with the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), USGBC offers a suite of LEED professional credentials that denote expertise in the field of green building. USGBC incentivizes LEED certification by awarding extra certification points to building projects completed with a LEED-certified professional on staff.United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce
The Committee on Energy and Commerce is one of the oldest standing committees of the United States House of Representatives. Established in 1795, it has operated continuously—with various name changes and jurisdictional changes—for more than 200 years. The two other House standing committees with such continuous operation are the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Rules Committee. The Committee has served as the principal guide for the House in matters relating to the promotion of commerce and to the public’s health and marketplace interests, with the relatively recent addition of energy considerations among them.United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over matters related to energy and nuclear waste policy, territorial policy, native Hawaiian matters, and public lands.
Its roots go back to the Committee on Interior and Insulars Affair. In 1977, it became the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Indian Affairs were removed from its jurisdiction into its own committee.We Almost Lost Detroit
We Almost Lost Detroit, a 1975 Reader's Digest book by John G. Fuller, presents a history of Fermi 1, America's first commercial breeder reactor, with emphasis on the 1966 partial nuclear meltdown.It took four years for the reactor to be repaired, and then performance was poor. In 1972, the reactor core was dismantled and the reactor was decommissioned. America's first effort at operating a full-scale breeder had failed.
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