In 2019, the sources used for power generation in the US include fossil fuels (62.6%), nuclear energy (19.6%), renewables (17.6%), pumped storage hydropower (-0.1%), and others (0.3%). The power generation capacity of the US (1.1 billion kW, 2019) is larger than Germany (223 million kW, 2019) and Japan (271.69 million kW, 2018). The power generation system in the US (284 minutes) is less reliable than Germany (12.2 minutes) and Japan (86 minutes) in terms of the average interruption per customer in 2019.
Total Power That the US Generates and Sources Used
- According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US generated around 4,127 billion kWh of electricity at utility-scale electricity generation facilities in 2019 (latest available).
- Fossil fuels accounted for 62.6% (2,582 billion kWh) of the electricity generated. This source included natural gas (38.4%), coal (23.4%), petroleum (0.4%), and other gases (0.3%).
- Nuclear energy contributed 19.6% (809 billion kWh) of the electricity generated.
- Renewable energy sources accounted for 17.6% (728 billion kWh) of the electricity generated. The main types of renewables included wind (7.1%), hydropower (7.0%), solar (1.7%), biomass (1.4%), and geothermal (0.4%).
- Pumped storage hydropower and other sources contributed -0.1% (-5 billion kWh) and 0.3% (13 billion kWh) of the electricity generated respectively.
Comparison of the US Power Generation Capacity to Other Developed Countries
- The US power generation capacity is larger than other developed countries such as Germany and Japan.
- Based on the EIA’s latest data, the US had around 1.1 billion kW of total utility-scale electricity generating capacity in 2019.
- The Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) has reported that the total installed generation capacity for Germany was 223 million kW (223.0 GW) in 2019.
- According to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the capacity of electrical plants in Japan was 271.69 million kW (271.69 GW) in 2018 (latest available).
Comparison of the Reliability of the US Power Generation System to Other Developed Countries
- The US power generation system is less reliable than Germany and Japan based on the duration of electricity service interruptions experienced by customers.
- Customers in the US experienced an average interruption of 284 minutes in 2019.
- In Germany, the average interruption time per connected end customers was 12.2 minutes in 2019, the lowest since the Federal Network Agency began collecting this data in 2006.
- According to the Organization for Cross-regional Coordination of Transmission Operators, customers in Japan experienced an average interruption of 86 minutes in 2019.