In 2022, United States homes and industries consumed energy from various sources. Close to 60% of the electricity consumed was generated from fossil fuels. Leading the pack was gas, constituting just under 40% of the total energy mix, while coal made up slightly above 19%. On the other hand, low carbon energy sources were responsible for just a touch under 40% of the nation's electricity consumption. The major players in this category included nuclear energy, wind, hydropower and solar, contributing approximately 18%, 10%, 6% and 5% respectively. Biofuels and geothermal energy also added to the mix, but to a lesser extent, accounting for just over 1% and under half a percent respectively. Nearly 1% of the country's electricity consumption was accounted for by net imports.
The United States stands a chance to greatly improve its sustainability by expanding its reliance on low-carbon electricity generation. An important step in this direction could mean investing more in nuclear energy, a reliable power source contributing significantly to the nation's energy mix already. Lessons could be drawn from France, where nuclear power is responsible for more than half of their electricity generation. More emphasis could also be placed on wind energy, following in the footsteps of countries like Denmark and Ireland, where wind power provides over half and a third of their power respectively.
The journey of low-carbon electricity generation in the United States is woven into its past. The blossoming of nuclear power was notable in the mid to late 20th century with significant increases in the 1970s and overt peaks of expansion in the late 1980s. However, in the late 1990s, a significant decline, almost worthy of criticism, was seen. Hydroelectric power has also seen fluctuating interest over the decades, with major dips experienced in the years 1977, 2001, and 2012. The dawn of the 21st century, however, saw a promising rise in wind power, with significant increase noted in 2022. There's no doubt the United States holds the potential and resources to intensify its clean energy generation efforts.