US Electricity, 2021

In something other than Ukraine related, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released US electricity generation data for December 2021. We now have complete year information. There is a lot in the report, but below is a summary of the electricity generation mix for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, given in percentages. Renewables include small scale solar (rooftop) estimates. The percentages may not total to exactly 100% due to rounding.

----      2019  2020  2021
Coal       23%   19%   22%
Nat. Gas   38    40    38
Nuclear    19    20    19
Hydro       7     7     6
Renewable  12    13    15
Other       1     1     1…

For those interested, the link below shows the breakdown of the renewables category. Wind power is the largest single renewable source, bigger than even hydroelectric. Nuclear remains the largest zero carbon source.…

Including small scale solar, total generation for 2021 was very slightly higher than 2019. 2020 had a 2.7% decline from 2019, obviously due to the economic effects of COVID.

Will post more on this report, if I find something macro interesting.

  • Pete

The only sector of power generation that is growing every year is renewables. Hydro and renewables are now the largest zero carbon source having passed nuclear generation.


Thanks for the posting. The percentages are interesting, but what’s happening to total electricity demand in the US.

Is conservation and increased efficiency reducing demand? Or is it flat and or rising.

Other things being equal, you expect electricity demand to increase with the population. Presumably at about 2% per year. But then comes the industrial and business consumption impact. Electricity generation is commonly used as an economic indicator. Once they used total coal consumption. So you expect a major dip from Covid.

How are we doing?

The percentages are interesting, but what’s happening to total electricity demand in the US.

The following has a Total Generation at Utility Scale facilities column.…

Next to the Total Utility Scale column is the estimated Small Scale Solar. Below are the numbers for the last 5 years, including the sum of utility scale and small scale.

Generation in Gigawatt-Hours
      Utility Scale  Small Scale   Utility + Small
2017    4,034,183      23,990        4,058,173
2018    4,178,277      29,539        4,207,816
2019    4,127.855      34,957        4,162,812
2020    4,007,135      41,522        4,048,657
2021    4,115,540      49,025        4,164,565

Looking back to 2011 on that page, utility scale generation is almost unchanged. If the population has increased since 2011, that may indicate per capita use of electricity may be going down. We would also need to factor in imports and exports to get an accurate number for per capita consumption.

  • Pete

The percentages are interesting, but what’s happening to total electricity demand in the US.

Here is a page showing sales of electricity to customers, divided into residential, commercial, industrial and transportation, plus total.…

  • Pete