The production of energy is necessary to any country, especially if they have a large population that consumes a lot of resources. The United States is always looking for ways to either generate more energy or find reliable sources for importing. Of course, producing energy is always the most favorable option.
In the chart below, annual production rates are shown for the top four types of energy. The production of crude oil and natural gas were on the rise starting 2005-2009 period. This coincides with two important changes in the US energy industry. The first involved discoveries of shale gas reserves. The second was the successful application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. These two methods were used to extract reserves that were previously too expensive to extract.
In late 2000, coal production began to dwindle. It reached its lowest point in 25 years during 2013. Nuclear power production has remained constant over the past 10 years despite the negative, worldwide publicity of the Fukushima incident.
Crude Oil Production vs. Imports
The shale boom clearly impacted US crude oil production figures, starting in 2009. This was around the same period that US imports for crude oil began to dip. It’s possible that, by the end of 2014, crude oil production could surpass imports for the first time since 1993.
The spike in oil imports during the mid-seventies was due to the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973. According to the US Energy Information Administration, crude oil imports from 1973 to 1977 exceeded double their previous amounts when they reached a record level of 6.6 million barrels per day in 1977.
Renewable energy sources are also growing in the US. Over the past 40 years, the production of renewable energy has become over twice as prevalent. Despite the stagnancy of hydroelectric and geothermal energy production, biomass energy, particularly solar and wind energy, has contributed to renewable energy’s growth.
Despite being only a fraction of total energy production, both solar and wind energy have shown nearly exponential growth rates.
Energy Production vs. Consumption
If current rates continue, it will only be a matter of time until energy production surpasses consumption. Energy production has been rising steadily since 2005, while consumption has been almost flat for the past 15 years.
Data Source: US Energy Information Administration