US Electricity Generation
Energy consumption (2011) in the US totals over 97 Quads (1015 Btu) of which electricity consumption is roughly 40% (39.3 Quads). U.S. electricity use is currently more than 13 times greater than electricity use in 1950. Currently (2011) about 86% of U.S. electricity is generated by three fuels: coal, natural gas, and nuclear. The following figure shows electricity generation by energy source for 2011.
Within the renewable category, hydroelectric comprises over one-third and biofuels is about a fifth (21%).
According to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, projections are for electricity consumption to grow at an average annual rate of 0.4% to 2035 and within this sector the use of distillate fuel oil (for which biodiesel could provide a sustainable replacement) will increase by 0.2 Quads (a possible 1.5 billion gallons at a B100 replacement) and residual fuel oils will decrease by 0.9 Quads.
CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity mostly come from use of coal. Petroleum (mainly distillate and residual fuel use) for electricity generation only account for a very small portion of the US carbon dioxide emissions.
In addition to large-scale electricity generation from conventional power plants, electricity can be generated for smaller applications on-site such as for use in industrial and commercial facilities with combined heat and power (CHP) as well as stand-by emergency generation. Typical applications for smaller-scale electricity generation include stationary power sources for hospitals, data centers/communication, nuclear generating plants, underground mining, food refrigeration, airports, and critical applications such as for hospitals. In these types of cases, the use of the fuel for these intended purposes may not occur for a lengthy period of time, in which in the case of biodiesel or biodiesel blends there may fuel/oxidation stability problems.