America's electric companies rely on a variety of domestic fuels to generate electricity. Fuel diversity helps to protect electric companies and their customers from contingencies such as fuel unavailability, fuel price fluctuations, and changes in regulatory practices that can drive up the cost of a particular fuel. Fuel diversity also helps to ensure stability and reliability in electricity supply and strengthens national security.
The industry relies on a variety of fuels for power generation. No individual fuel is capable of providing the energy to meet all of our nation's electricity demands. In 2016:
- Coal provided 30.4 percent of our nation's electricity.
- Natural gas supplied 33.8 percent.
- Nuclear energy produced 19.7 percent.
- Hydropower provided 6.5 percent of the supply.
- Other renewable resources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind, provided 8.4 percent.
- Fuel oil provided 0.6 percent of the generation mix.
- Other miscellaneous sources provided 0.6 percent.
The electricity generation mix differs from state to state and region to region, depending on the availability and cost of fuels located there. Major changes in the generation mix can have economic impacts, especially on a regional basis.