The US primary energy mix is dominated by fossil fuels, with oil contributing 36% (mostly used in the transport sector), fossil gas 34%, and coal 12% in 2019. Nuclear energy accounts for 10%, while renewable energy makes up about 8% of the energy mix. The pace of renewable energy deployment in the US has lagged behind others such as the European Union, as retiring coal capacity has largely been replaced by fossil gas and regulatory rollbacks have supported fossil fuels.
The share of fossil gas in the power mix has been increasing, and it is largely replacing coal. In 2017, gas and coal had about equal shares in the power mix, but by 2019, the share of gas had increased to 38% while coal decreased to 25%. Nuclear (19%) and renewable energy including biomass (18%) made up the bulk of the remaining generation.
While there are existing policy gaps in the energy sector, President Biden has presented ambitious energy sector reforms including the goal to achieve a “100% clean energy economy” by 2050. Biden’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan also includes a target to achieve a “carbon-free power” sector by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, is expected to help narrow this gap with significant measures targeting the energy sector such as support for renewable energy and electric vehicles.