n Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama shared a variety of metrics that show our union is strong — such as “a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production.” We wanted to take a moment to dive into some of the data behind the United States’ booming energy sector.
President Obama had this to say: “Today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.”
Let’s see what’s behind some of these numbers.
America Is Number One In Oil
Coming as a surprise to some, the United States is actually now the world’s leader in total oil supply. Total oil supply is defined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as “the production of crude oil (including lease condensate), natural gas plant liquids, and other liquids, and refinery processing gain.” Looking below we can see the monumental gains that we’ve been able to make recently.
According to the EIA, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading oil producer in November of 2012. Since then, we have continued to steadily increase our oil production, while the other top four producers remain relatively constant.
America Is Number One In Gas
While we don’t have monthly data for international natural gas production, we do have yearly data that shows the United States’ strong leadership in this category over the last 10 years. Since 2008, the gap has widened as places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia have seen remarkable growth in natural gas production.
America Is Number One In Wind
American wind energy has surged over the last few years. From 2008 to 2012, wind electricity generation nearly tripled, going from 55.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 140.8 billion kWh. In that same period, no other individual country has cracked 100 billion kWh mark. Since 2008 we have seen net summer wind capacity go from under 20,000 megawatts (MW) to nearly 65,000 MW last month.
The EIA projects that over the next two years — illustrated above by the green dotted line — wind energy capacity will continue to rise to 80,000 MW. If you want to watch the impressive growth of the U.S. wind industry over the last 40 years, take a look at our map that shows its expansion since 1975.
Every Three Weeks, We Bring Online as Much Solar Power as We Did in All of 2008
Solar power has made incredible advances over the last five years. While solar capacity is comparatively modest relative to wind capacity thus far, the rapidly falling price of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects has lead to an increase in solar capacity at a breakneck pace.
While in 2008 we added just 31 MW of capacity, in 2014, we’ve added over 3000 MW of power. Over the next two years, the EIA projects that solar capacity will grow from 10,000 MW to over 16,000 MW.
All of the Above
Our recent interactive map of U.S. energy production growth over the last 20 years brings this all together. Take a look and you can see encouraging signs from our energy sector. While this map only goes through 2012, the last two years have been even stronger for oil, natural gas, wind and solar. We are excited to see these things continue to grow.
Watch the President’s remarks on energy, climate change and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) from Tuesday’s State of the Union address to learn more about some of the things that the Energy Department will be working on in the months and years to come.