Report: More Efficient and Renewable Energy Technologies Used in 2011

October 31, 2012

Americans used less energy in 2011 than in 2010 due mainly to a shift to more energy efficient residential and transportation technologies, according to the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Energy flow charts released on October 24 by LLNL indicate that, overall, U.S. energy use in 2011 equaled 97.3 quadrillion BTU, or "quads," compared to the 98 quads used in 2010. The charts use data provided by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.

Among renewable energy sources, Americans used more wind-generated energy last year, increasing from 0.92 quads in 2010 to 1.17 quads in 2011, because new wind farms came online during that time. Hydroelectricity also saw an increase in use, jumping from 2.51 quads in 2010 up to 3.17 quads in 2011. Hydroelectricity use increased significantly in 2011 because large amounts of precipitation enabled hydroelectric dams to produce at their maximum levels while keeping reservoirs full. Similar levels of hydroelectric production were seen in 1997, 1998, and 1999 due to heavy precipitation in those years.

The majority of energy used in 2011 was for electricity generation (39.2 quads), followed by transportation, industrial, commercial, and residential consumption. However, energy use in the residential, commercial, and transportation sectors decreased while industrial energy use increased, if only slightly. See the LLNL press release.