Oct 30, 2018

Electricity generation reaches highest level since the 2008 recession

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Adapted from U.S. Energy Information Administration via Danish Embassy; Note: Figures reflect previous 12 months; Chart: Axios Visuals

America’s electricity generation reached the highest level since before the economic recession, just-released government data shows.

Why it matters: Electricity generation in the U.S. has been largely stagnant for a decade, fueled by a slow-growing economy after the 2008 financial crash and the resulting lackluster electricity demand. That’s starting to change, recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows.

“We learned to do less with less during the Great Recession, then we learned to do more with less in the low-energy recovery that followed. Now it looks like America is doing more with more.”
— Kevin Book, managing director, ClearView Energy Partners

Yes, but: Chris Cassar, an electricity expert at the EIA, notes that weather may be at play too. He said this summer was a lot warmer than last year’s, which would have increased the need for electricity generation. “It is very hard to completely separate weather from the economic factors affecting the change in electricity generation.”

One level deeper: Growing electricity generation is good news for all producers and generators of electricity, which have for the last year been battling it out for a piece of the mostly stagnant market as President Trump seeks to boost financially struggling coal and nuclear power plants. I call this the Hunger Games of electricity, in a Harder Line column of mine from last year.

Go deeper

The decade that blew up energy predictions

Illustration: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

America’s energy sources, like booming oil and crumbling coal, have defied projections and historical precedents over the last decade.

Why it matters: It shows how change can happen rapidly and unexpectedly, even in an industry known to move gradually and predictably. With a new decade upon us, let’s look back at the last one’s biggest, most surprising energy changes.

Go deeperArrowDec 23, 2019

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by estimated 2.1% in 2019

Power lines in California in 2019. Photo: Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1% in 2019 due to a decrease in national coal consumption, according to estimates from the Rhodium Group released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Power generated from coal plants fell by a record 18%, and overall emissions from the power section declined by almost 10% — despite an increase in emissions from natural gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

House Democrats' climate bill aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

We can already draw some conclusions from yesterday's rollout of the "framework" for big climate legislation House Democrats are crafting through the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

Driving the news: The planned bill aims to achieve net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.