Where Does Energy in the U.S. Come From?

In 2016 the U.S. consumed, in total, 97.4 quadrillion BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy. Overall, the U.S. accounts for roughly 18% of the world’s entire energy consumption.

Overall, total primary energy in the U.S. was consumed in five domestic sectors:

  • Electricity – 39%
  • Transportation – 29%
  • Industrial – 22%
  • Residential – 6%
  • Commercial – 4%

In a nutshell, energy comes in two distinct types: renewable and non-renewable.

Non-Renewable Energy

Non-renewable energy is made up primarily of nuclear power and fossil fuels. And as of today, roughly 84% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel sources including oil, coal and natural gas.


Statistics show that about 30% of the world’s energy comes from coal. Research also indicates that coal generates over 70% of the world’s steel production and over 40% of the world’s electric power.


The leading source of global energy consumption in the world comes from oil. In fact, 35% of total global energy consumption comes from oil.

Natural Gas

The use of natural gas is on the rise in the United States. In fact, natural gas is projected to become the primary source of energy in America over the next few decades. As of a few years ago, natural gas made up approximately 25% of total worldwide energy consumption. That number is expected to rise worldwide as well.


Another rising non-renewable energy source in the U.S. is nuclear energy. The main and most important benefit of nuclear power is that it’s clean burning. Global nuclear power makes up for about 5% of total global energy consumption.

Renewable Energy Sources

The difference between renewable and non-renewable energy sources is that renewable energy is self-replenishing and abundant. Fossil fuels, in contrast, are finite.

There are two types of renewable energy: hydropower and non-hydroelectric. Some sources of non- hydroelectric energy include wind, solar, geothermal and tidal.

As of 2015, renewable energy made up for about 10% of total U.S. energy consumption.


Hydropower, also referred to as hydroelectric, is defined as energy generated by falling water. One specific example is the Hoover Dam in Clark County, Nevada. The Hoover Dam provides electricity to Nevada, California and Arizona.

Non-Hydroelectric Renewable Energy

As mentioned earlier, some sources of non-hydroelectric energy include wind, solar, geothermal and tidal. Wood and wood-derived fuels along with waste can now be added to that list. Non-hydroelectric energy production and consumption is poised to rise dramatically in the future.

2018-01-02T08:35:03+00:00 January 2nd, 2018|