U.S. Energy Flows for 2012 released by EIA

Although the Energy Information Administration no longer produces the Annual Energy Review, they’re still releasing the Sankey diagrams for energy flow in the U.S. These will be very familiar to my thermo students and to fellow energy nerds. The most recent year available is now 2012:

Energy Flow 2012source: U.S. EIA, 2014, http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/total_energy.pdf

Compared with 2011, residential energy consumption decreased by about 1.5 quad–that’s 10^15 BTU, or British Thermal Units. Americans use this measure of energy in many sectors of the energy industry. It represents the amount of energy you need to heat up 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit (from 68 F to 69 F, to be exact).

Energy consumption also decreased in the commercial and transportation sectors, while it increased in the industrial sector, though all of these changes were less than 1 quad. As you may have expected, we’re consuming more natural gas and less coal, though the shift from 2011 to 2012 was not dramatic (less than 2 quad for each).

Nuclear power decreased slightly at this time, by about 1/5 quad. Although uprates continue to take place, the San Onofre generating station in California stopped operating in 2012.

Although renewable energy consumption (in absolute terms) is on a general upward trend, it took a small dip between 2011 and 2012:

 Renewable Energy Consumption source: U.S. EIA, 2014, http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec10.pdf

More diagrams, including the one reproduced above and illustrations specific to natural gas, petroleum, coal, and electricity flow, are available here.