Over the last several years there has been a fairly steady decline in the amount of energy being consumed in the US. According to the latest information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total US electricity sales have declined in four of the past five years and that trend continued into 2013. Since the great recession of 2007 only 2010 saw an increase in US energy consumption.
While the declining sales in the industrial sector can be attributed, at least in part, to the economic slowdown, it is also due to increases in efficiency. In the residential and commercial building sectors, despite growth in the number of households and commercial building, energy use remained flat.
In 2012, residential electricity sales accounted for 36 percent of all electricity use in 2012, up from 33 percent in 2000. Commercial sales buildings have increased about 1 percent annually since 2000 and accounted for 35 percent of electricity use in 2012.
In the industrial sector sales decreased by 9 percent between 2000 and 2012, and the sector’s share of total electricity usage fell from 30 percent to 26 percent in that period. Efficiency improvements in production processes have contributed to declining energy sales. However, since 2010 this trend has been offset by increasing production and exports, driven by low natural gas prices, among other factors.
The growth of distributed generation like solar is also contributing to the recent slower growth in electricity sales in the residential and commercial sectors.
EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook projects relatively flat electricity use in the US through 2015, after which growth is expected to resume at the rate of nearly 1 percent.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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