Coal, Gas, News

Historic shift: U.S. energy production outpaced consumption in 2019, EIA says

Energy hasn’t felt this groundbreakingly productive since Elvis Presley was electrifying audiences with “All Shook Up.”

Because, hey baby, U.S. energy production exceeded consumption last year for the first time since 1957 according to a Tuesday report by the federal Energy Information Administration. Thanks to the oil and gas drilling boom as well as steadily accelerating clean energy production, the nation has driven up capacity up despite a 45-year low in coal production.

Overall, the EIA’s statistics show that the U.S. produced 101 quadrillion British thermal units of energy and consumed 100.2 quads during the same period. Both U.S. production and consumption hit all-time years in 2018, but the former grew 5.7 percent and the latter fell nearly 1 percent one year later, according to the report.

Innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling drove U.S. crude oil and natural gas plant liquids to 31.8 quads, while natural gas production totaled 34.9 quads. Both of those totals are records for the nation’s energy sector.

Renewable energy production grew slightly in 2019 to more than 11 quads. This sector combined hydroelectric, solar, wind and biomass production. Nuclear power generation stayed steady—as it has for the past two decades—at nearly eight quads, according to the EIA.

U.S. energy consumption has remained in a relatively narrow range in the past two decades, ranging between 96 quads and 102 quads. Petroleum has accounted for the largest share of U.S. energy consumption since 1950, even though it has fallen nearly 9 percent from its peak in 2005, according to the EIA.

Since 2008, U.S. coal consumption has decreased nearly 50 percent, primarily because of coal-fired plant retirements within the electricity sector.

The federal agency noted that U.S. natural gas consumption has increased by about 35 percent since 2000 and reached an all-time high last year.

POWERGEN International will feature all of the critical generation resources and technologies, including gas-fired renewables wind, solar and hydro, nuclear, the future of coal-fired power and energy storage. POWERGEN 2020 will be December 8-10 in Orlando, Florida.