For most of the world, the energy industry involves the production of oil and natural gas. There is a growing renewables segment in this industry that includes solar, wind, and geothermal sources, but the revenues generated by these sub-sectors are limited to the power of petroleum.
Oil has always been, and likely will be for the next generation, the primary energy source for the United States and much of the world. Although its use decreased in the 1970s during the energy crisis, it went from being 38% of the energy sector in the 1950s to 45% in 1975. By 2004, the price of gasoline went about $4 per gallon in the United States because demand was outpacing supply once again.
The flexibility of natural gas makes it a useful addition to the energy industry as well, increasing from 17% of consumption in 1950 to nearly 30% in the 1970s. That figure has declined to about 20% since there are more choices available for consumers, but it is still an essential part of the consumer experience.
You will find statistics on coal, nuclear, and various other energies useful when looking at the overall consumption rates, industry revenues, and where the industry hopes to be in the next decade.
Essential Energy Industry Statistics
#1. The total amount of conventional hydroelectricity net generation in the United States is 291.7 billion kilowatt-hours. (Statista)
#2. The amount of renewable electricity generation in the United States increased by 2.4% in 2018 from the year before. (Statista)
#3. Wind electricity net generation in the United States totals 274.9 billion kilowatt-hours. (Statista)
#4. The total amount of renewable energy production in the United States is 11.14 trillion BTUs. Renewable sources of energy account for 19.7% of the overall electricity capacity that Americans access every year for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes. (Statista)
#5. Hydropower in the United States offers a total capacity of 79,595 megawatts based on 2018 figures. There is also over 7 gigawatts of newly installed wind power capacity from 2017 figures. (Statista)
#6. Coal production in the United States increased by 6.4% in 2018 over the year before, reaching a total of 774.6 million short tons. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#7. There are over 53,000 workers employed in coal mines in the United States as of 2018, which represents an increase of more than 2.4% from 2016 figures. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#8. The total productive capacity of coal mines in the United States was 1,058 million short tons, which reflects a 0.9% decrease from 2016 levels. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#9. The average price per short ton of bituminous coal was $55.60 in 2018, which was up 14.9% from 2016 figures. Thermal coal was down 3% that year, selling at $26.53 per short ton on average. Subbituminous coal was selling at $14.29 per short ton, averaged throughout the year a figure that was 3.6% less than 2016 numbers. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#10. Total coal stocks ended at 167 million short tons in 2018, which was 13.7% lower than in 2016. Stocks for electrical power decreased by 24.8 million short tons during that time. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#11. There were 946 active rigs in the United States supporting the oil and gas segment of the energy industry as of July, representing a reduction of 102 active sites from the year before. Canada had 127 active rigs during the same month, which was 96 less than the previous year. (Baker Hughes)
#12. There were 1,138 active oil and gas rigs internationally, a figure that was 179 sites higher than the year before, as of May 2019. (Baker Hughes)
#13. Nuclear energy now provides about 11% of the world’s electricity through the use of about 450 power reactors that are placed around the world. There are another 60 reactors under construction, which is the equivalent to about 15% of the existing capacity. (World Nuclear Association)
#14. Nuclear energy is the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon power, representing 30% of the overall total in this category in 2016. (World Nuclear Association)
#15. 30 different countries around the world have at least one nuclear reactor they are using to generate electricity for consumption. These plants supplied 2,487 TWh of electricity in 2017, up 10 TWh from the year before. It was the fifth consecutive year that global nuclear generation outputs rose, and it is 142 TWh higher than 2012 figures. (World Nuclear Association)
#16. 38% of the world’s electricity production comes from coal. Another 23% comes from gas. These resources are followed by hydropower (16%), nuclear (10%), various renewables (5.6%), and oil (3.7%). (IEA Electricity Information)
#17. 13 countries in 2017 were able to produce at least 25% of their electricity from nuclear power. France leads the way in this category with 75% of its power coming from this resource. The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Finland, Bulgaria, Sweden, Slovenia, and Belgium receive at least half of their electricity through nuclear as well. (World Nuclear Association)
#18. Almost all of the active coal mines in the United States are east of the Mississippi River, with 602 out of the 680 locations in that region of the country. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#19. Despite the fact that coal mines west of the Mississippi River represent just 10% of the mining operations for the energy industry in the United States, the total production levels are over 1.7 million short tons higher than the hundreds of active locations in the eastern states. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#20. American coal mines sell most of their products to the domestic market. Less than 100 million short tons of bituminous coal was sent to the export market in 2017. Another 300,000 short tons of anthracite and 100,000 short tons of lignite contributed to industry revenues in this way as well. (National Mining Association)
#21. The industrial use of coal from the energy industry represents about 33 million short tons each year, a figure that is 50% lower than what was consumed in 2004. (National Mining Association)
#22. Over 664 million short tons of coal are used in power plants across the United States to generate electricity each year. The mining industry typically products about the same amount of raw materials that are necessary for power generation each year, creating a fluctuating supply level that maintains the current warehoused stocks effectively. (National Mining Association)
#23. China is the largest consumer of coal products in the world today, using more than the next nine leading nations combined in this natural fuel source. They’re responsible for about 50% of the total consumption of coal for energy purposes in the world today. (International Energy Agency)
#24. China also leads the world in total coal imports each year, purchasing 271 million metric tons in 2017. India is the only other nation on the planet that buys over 200 million metric tons each year. Japan and South Korea both purchase over 100 million metric tons. (International Energy Agency)
#25. Each American consumes the equivalent of 3.7 tons of coal each year to meet the demands of their modern lifestyle. 90% of that figure comes from a domestic mine that supports local economies. (International Energy Agency)
#26. The coal manufacturing and mining facilities in the United States represent about one-third of the total energy production that occurs each year. This figure also represents over 20% of the total energy consumption that occurs. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#27. 70% of the coal that is available to the American market comes from surface mining operations. Mining in the Appalachian region accounts for almost 10% of the coal that gets mined in this way in the United States. (Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute)
#28. About 134,000 workers are employed by the coal mining segment of the energy industry in the United States. Each full-time position creates another 3.5 indirect positions to support local economies. Because the mining workforce is aging rapidly, up to 50,000 new workers may be necessary in the next ten years to maintain current production levels. (Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute)
#29. There are almost 300 billion tons of recoverable coal in the United States right now, representing enough energy that Americans could continue at their current consumption rate for over 200 more years. (Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute)
#30. There are more than 7,600 power plants in the United States with operational generators that produce at least 1 megawatt of power. Some plants have multiple generators in the facility, so more than one type of fuel might be used. Coal in this area represents a leading source of CO2 emissions, producing over 1.7 billion tons. (Arcadia Power)
#31. The soot from coal-fired power plants contains particulates that can be up to 10 micrometers in diameter. Because they have irregular surfaces, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide can bind to them. The typical U.S.-based facility can produce up to 500 tons of particulates each year, contributing to health issues like chronic bronchitis and asthma. (Arcadia Power)
#32. Power plants in the United States are responsible for 50% of the mercury that gets released into the air every year. They are also responsible for 75% of the acidic gases that enter the atmosphere, pumping up to 52 tons of it annually even with the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards that began in 2011. (Arcadia Power)
#33. Since 1990, power plants have reduced their mercury emissions by 10%. (Arcadia Power)
#34. Uncontrolled coal power plants can release numerous harmful pollutants into the environment. That includes traces of uranium, 225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead, and 220 tons of hydrocarbons. (Arcadia Power)
#35. Climate change impacts the energy industry too. Over the past 40 years, the number of extreme weather events has quadrupled. (GreenBiz)
#36. Coal power plants are responsible for up to 32.7 deaths per 10 kilowatt-hours depending on the location of the facility. Hydroelectric power, in comparison, is only responsible for up to 1.6 deaths. (Business Insider)
#37. Nuclear power, despite its overall dangers, has caused the fewest deaths since 1971. Estimates suggest that over 1.8 million people are still alive in the world today because of the positive impact that this technology has on emissions production. (Global Climate Change)
#38. Sulfate deposits in the United States dropped by 55% over the eastern seaboard from 1991 to 2011, reducing the amount of acid rain that can impact rivers, lakes, and streams. (EPA)
#39. Over 143 billion gallons of gasoline, representing 3.4 billion barrels, were consumed in the United States in 2018. That means over 391 million gallons of fuel are used to create energy in some way each day. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
#40. Over 3.12 million barrels of distillate fuel oil are consumed by the transportation sector every day in the United States, a figure that is consistent with levels last seen in 2007. (Statista)
#41. The average American who owns or leases a vehicle consumes 656 gallons of gasoline each year with their driving habits. (The Motley Fool)
#42. When the average price of gasoline is $2.15 per gallon in the United States (including taxes, fees, and other charges), drivers will spend over $1,400 during the year to fill up their gas tank. (The Motley Fool)
#43. Something as simple as an underinflated tire can reduce a driver’s fuel economy by up to 5%. If there is a clogged air filter in the vehicle, then you could be using 20% more gasoline than is necessary to reach your intended destination. (The Motley Fool)
#44. Over 147 million gallons of gasoline are lost every year because of evaporation, which means there is $316 million that disappears from the economy – a figure that represents $1 for each person living in the United States. (Car Care Council)
#45. Diesel fuel represents 16% of the refined petroleum products that Americans use each year and 77% of total distillate consumption. (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
Energy Industry Trends and Analysis
There is a push to focus more on renewable resources for energy production instead of maintaining our current reliance on fossil fuels. New ideas, such as wave and tidal energy, work with the traditional options like wind and solar to continue cutting into the market share that coal, oil, and gas, or the nuclear segments, enjoy with this industry.
The sun provides our planet with enough energy every day to fuel our power needs for an entire year. If we can find ways to harvest this resource, then our reliance on hydrocarbons, coal, and other potentially dangerous items can be reduced.
Look for the Internet of Things to play a significant role in the future of the energy industry. If you turn off just one refrigerator, then you have 100 watts of energy as a reserve. If you can capture the energy from 1 million households simultaneously, then there is a 100-megawatt asset at your disposal. As the efforts to digitize increase, look for physical asset replacement, energy cycling, and more renewables to become the trend priorities in the next 5-10 years.
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