EIA expects power plants in the United States will generate 1,168 million megawatthours of electricity during the 2019 summer months (June–August), 2% less than last summer, according to the May 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook. EIA expects changes in the mix of energy sources, especially for coal, which is forecast to provide 25% of U.S. generation this summer, down from 28% last summer. Natural gas will provide the largest share of total U.S. generation this summer at 40%, up from 39% last summer, according to EIA’s forecast.
The number of drilled but uncompleted wells in seven key oil and natural gas production regions in the United States has increased over the last two years, reaching a high of 8,504 wells in February 2019, according to well counts in EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The most recent count, at 8,500 wells in March 2019, was 26% higher than the previous March.
Drilled but uncompleted wells, also known as DUCs, are oil and natural gas wells that have been drilled but have not yet undergone well completion activities to start producing hydrocarbons. The well completion process involves casing, cementing, perforating, hydraulic fracturing, and other procedures required to produce crude oil or natural gas.
A growing number of homes in the United States are all electric, with 25% of homes nationwide using only electricity according to EIA’s 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The share of all-electric homes has risen in each census region over the past decade, particularly in the Midwest and South. Changes to the types of equipment used in homes and faster population growth in warmer climates have contributed to the rise in all-electric homes.
The high cost of electric heating in colder climates has often limited the use of heat pumps and other electric equipment in those areas, but improvements to heat pump technology have helped expand their use. From 2005 to 2015, the share of U.S. homes using electricity for their main heating equipment increased from 30% to 36%, with the share of heated homes using a heat pump increasing from 8% to 12%. At the same time, the share of homes using electricity for their main water heater increased from 39% to 46%.
New electricity generating capacity is brought online throughout the year, but December has historically been the most significant month for both onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions in the United States. Over the past nine years (2010–2018), 43% of all onshore wind capacity and 33% of all solar PV capacity have been added in December. U.S. wind and solar capacities receive a production tax credit (PTC) and an investment tax credit (ITC), respectively, which may provide incentives to come online at the end of the year.
In the United States from 2010 through 2018, December wind capacity additions ranged from 29% to 60% of a given year’s total wind capacity additions. In 2018, 58% of wind capacity additions were installed in December, the highest share since 2013, when 60% of wind capacity additions were installed in December.
Working natural gas in storage in the Lower 48 states at the end of March totaled 1,137 billion cubic feet (Bcf) according to EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. As of March 31, the usual end of the natural gas withdrawal season, working natural gas inventories were 30% lower than the previous five-year average for that time of year. This end-of-season level was the lowest since 2014, when working natural gas inventories at the end of March 2014 totaled 837 Bcf.
Working natural gas inventories entered the winter heating season in November 2018 at 3,198 Bcf—the lowest level for that time of year in more than a decade—and declined during the winter at a rate consistent with historical trends.
Electricity routinely flows among the Lower 48 states and, to a lesser extent, between the United States and Canada and Mexico. From 2013 to 2017, Pennsylvania was the largest net exporter of electricity, sending an annual average of 58 million megawatthours (MWh) outside the state. California was the largest net importer, receiving an average of 89 million MWh annually.
Based on the share of total consumption within each state, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, and Idaho were the five largest power-importing states between 2013 and 2017. Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, and New Hampshire were the five largest power-exporting states. States with major population centers and relatively less generating capacity within their state boundaries tend to have higher ratios of net electricity imports to total electricity consumption.
Texas has more energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than any other state, while Vermont has the least, according to EIA’s recently released Energy-related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by State, 2005-2016. In addition to energy-related CO2 emissions estimates for all 50 states, the report provides data on CO2 emissions per capita and emissions broken out by fuel and by sector.
Population is the most important factor in determining total CO2 emissions in a state. Other factors that influence both total and per capita CO2 emissions include the state’s energy resources, climate, population density, and economic mix.
Carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. energy consumption will remain near current levels through 2050, according to projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2019. The AEO2019 Reference case, which reflects no changes to current laws and regulations and extends current trends in technology, projects that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be 5,019 million metric tons in 2050, or 4% below their 2018 value, as emissions associated with coal and petroleum consumption fall and emissions from natural gas consumption rise.
Renewable generation provided a new record of 742 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2018, nearly double the 382 million MWh produced in 2008. Renewables provided 17.6% of electricity generation in the United States in 2018.
Nearly 90% of the increase in U.S. renewable electricity between 2008 and 2018 came from wind and solar generation. Wind generation rose from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh in 2018 (6.5% of total electricity generation), exceeded only by conventional hydroelectric at 292 million MWh (6.9% of total generation).
U.S. natural gas production grew by 10.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, an 11% increase from 2017. The growth was the largest annual increase in production on record, reaching a record high for the second consecutive year. U.S. natural gas production measured as gross withdrawals averaged 101.3 Bcf/d in 2018, the highest volume on record, according to EIA’s Monthly Crude Oil, Lease Condensate, and Natural Gas Production Report. U.S. natural gas production measured as marketed production and dry natural gas production also reached record highs at 89.6 Bcf/d and 83.4 Bcf/d, respectively.