U.S. Energy Production Noted Record Drop In 2020

U.S. Energy Production Noted Record Drop In 2020
In 2020, energy production in the U.S. fell by record amounts compared with 2019, mostly due to decreased economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020, energy production in the United States fell by record amounts compared with 2019, mostly due to decreased economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

Wyoming had the largest drop in total energy production among the states, decreasing by 1,264 trillion thermal units, mostly due to decreased coal production. According to EIA, seven states saw their largest annual energy production decline in at least 60 years.

To calculate U.S. total energy production and to compare different types of energy reported in different physical units (such as barrels, cubic feet, tons, kilowatt-hours, etc.), the EIA converts sources of energy to common units of heat, called British thermal units (Btu). The EIA uses a fossil fuel equivalence to calculate the electricity consumption of noncombustible renewables for wind, hydropower, solar, and geothermal.

U.S. coal production fell by a record 25 percent in 2020 to its lowest level since 1965. Coal production during 2020 fell by 37 percent in Indiana, 33 percent in Kentucky, and 21 percent in Wyoming, as several coal mines closed.

In absolute terms, coal production in Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal producer, decreased by more than 1,000 trillion Btu, the most of any state. In 2020, coal production in Arizona stopped entirely with the closure of its last coal mine.

U.S. crude oil production fell by a record 8 percent in 2020. Production fell in 29 of the 32 states that produce crude oil, in part because of reduced demand for transportation fuels during the pandemic. One notable exception was in New Mexico, where crude oil production increased by 216 trillion Btu – an 11 percent increase from 2019. New Mexico became the nation’s second-largest crude oil-producing state in 2021.

The U.S. marketed natural gas production decreased by less than 1 percent in 2020, as natural gas demand and prices declined during a slightly warmer year. Marketed natural gas production in Oklahoma decreased by over 300 trillion Btu as shale production in the state fell by nearly 20 percent. In Ohio, despite a 289 trillion Btu drop in 2020, marketed natural gas production in the state was 31 times larger than in 2010.

U.S. renewable energy production increased by less than 1 percent in 2020, as solar production increased by 19 percent and wind by 13 percent, but biofuels fell by 10 percent, and hydropower by 2 percent. Hydroelectricity generation in California fell by 45 percent in 2020, the largest decline of any state, mostly because of extensive drought.

U.S. annual nuclear generation fell by 2 percent in 2020, mostly because of nuclear power plant closures in Massachusetts (Pilgrim) and Iowa (Duane Arnold).

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com


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