The annual U.S. energy chart on energy usage and waste released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), indicates that in 2012, the extensive use of coal to produce electricity have been substituted to large extent with natural gas, solar and wind.
The chart indicates that highest increase is noted in the use of wind power (see image). Governmental incentives towards investments in renewable energy have triggered the increasing construction of wind farms, with larger and much more efficient wind turbines.
LLNL accounts the rise in solar to the drastic drop in prices of solar panels due to the global over supply. Moreover, the low natural gas prices have triggered the replacement of coal in the electricity generation sector.
According to A.J. Simon, an energy systems analyst at LLNL, the combination between governmental incentives and drop in prices, have resulted in this remarkable increase in the use of renewables.
There is a notable drop in nuclear energy production and use, which the report explains by the switching off of four nuclear reactors over the past year.
Most of the energy was used for electricity generation, transportation, industrial, residential and consumption, but overall the amount of energy used in 2012 is 2.2 quadrillion BTU* less than the previous year
*BTU or British Thermal Unit is a unit of measurement for energy; 3,400 BTU is equivalent to about 1 kW-hr