This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 30, 2002

Report: U.S. Energy Use Dropped 2.4 Percent in 2001

DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Annual Energy Review for 2001 on October 29th. The annual review, which includes tables and graphs of U.S. energy use dating back to 1949, finds that U.S. energy use in 2001 dropped by 2.4 percent relative to 2000. A 2.0 percent drop in fossil-fuel use accounts for most of the decrease, although renewable energy use (a relatively small contributor to U.S. energy use) fell a full 12 percent. A 21 percent drop in electricity production from conventional hydropower—most likely due to this summer's drought—appears to be the main cause of the fall-off in renewable energy use. Although the report currently includes only charts and graphs, and no verbal analysis, one would expect that a slow U.S. economy and a warmer-than-average winter contributed to the overall decrease in U.S. energy use. See the Annual Energy Review.

The U.S. energy industry has changed in recent years, and the EIA had to change along with it. When releasing this year's report, EIA announced that the report no longer attempts to separate electric power plants into utility- and non-utility-owned plants. Instead, due to a growth in combined heat and power (CHP) plants, the report separates power plants into the categories of "electricity only" and CHP. Each CHP plant is listed under the business sector that it serves—whether it be industrial, commercial, or electric power—and the energy used to produce electricity is counted separately from the energy used to produce heat. See the EIA press release.