The US Is Diversifying Its Power Supply and Becoming More Energy-Independent
As of 2017, renewables (solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass) provided 12.8% of the US power supply, an increase from 8.1% of all power generated in 1980. Biomass is the leading renewable energy source, accounting for 5.1% of 2017 power production. Solar power grew by 12 times since 2007, but only generated 0.9% of power in 2017. Nuclear power provided 8.6% of the nation's power, up from 3.5% in 1980. Meanwhile, fossil fuels supplied 77.7% of American power in 2017, down from 89.4% in 1980. Petroleum continues to be the largest source of energy consumption, with natural gas being a second and rising source.
The energy trade gap was at its highest in 2005 when the US imported a net 3.61 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In 2018, it exported 696 billion cubic feet more than it imported. The petroleum gap was 70% lower in 2017 than its 4.58 billion-barrel high in 2005, down to 1.38 billion barrels.