Faced with COVID-19 pandemic and sharp financial contraction, the U.S. clear vitality sectors confirmed robust resilience in 2020, persevering with a decade-long progress development, BloombergNEF (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) discover of their annual joint report. The ninth version of theSustainable Energy in America Factbook tells the story of American vitality effectivity, pure gasoline and renewable vitality in a risky yr.

This story is instructed for the primary time with over 130 slides and information visualizations that put 2020 efficiency within the context of previous years, mentioned the organizations.

Figure 1: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Source: BloombergNEF estimate

The financial disruption brought about an enormous drop in nationwide greenhouse gasoline emissions. Energy demand for electrical energy and transportation fell by three.eight% and 14.four%, respectively, supporting the 9% year-on-year decline in dangerous greenhouse gasoline emissions for the United States. This fall in emissions (see Figure 1) is probably the most vital on file and places the United States on observe to satisfy its 2025 Paris Agreement dedication, although vitality demand and emissions are anticipated to rebound with widespread vaccinations in 2021.

The impacts of cleaner electrical energy era will persist. Figure 2 reveals that pure gasoline and renewable era continued to increase their share of the useful resource combine. A file 33.6 GW of wind and photo voltaic capability was added to the grid this yr.

“In a yr when a lot went sideways, it was a blockbuster yr for renewable vitality construct and for the primary time, a file 40% of U.S. energy consumed generated no CO2 emissions,” mentioned Ethan Zindler, BloombergNEF’s head of Americas. “Decarbonization of U.S. vitality accelerated in 2020 and the advantages might be felt for years to return.”

“The continued progress of unpolluted vitality within the United States, regardless of the financial downturn and the challenges of the pandemic, demonstrates that the marketplace for these applied sciences is maturing and the portfolio is very resilient,” mentioned Lisa Jacobson, BCSE President.

“Global provide chain disruptions, workforce safety measures, and coverage uncertainty required adaptation throughout the business. The energy of those companies saved the lights on and homes heat in America, and supported communities throughout an unprecedented disaster, all whereas we continued to construct cleaner sources,” she mentioned.

Figure 2: U.S. Electricity Generation By Fuel Type in 2020. Source: BloombergNEF

The full 2021 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook is out there for obtain right here. Notable clear vitality statistics from the pandemic yr embody:

Power Generation

  • Renewables’ contribution to the facility grid set one other file, rising 11% year-on-year. Renewable vitality generated a fifth of U.S. energy in 2020.
  • Power from all zero-carbon sources (renewables plus nuclear energy) set one other file, assembly 40% of demand. This was regardless of a decline in nuclear output.
  • Natural gasoline remained the biggest supply of U.S. energy era at 41%, although its 2019-2020 progress was slower than 2018-19.
  • Coal-fired energy’s contribution slipped to 19% from 45% a decade in the past on weak demand and competitors for lower-carbon energy sources. Coal crops continued to retire quickly.
  • A file 33.6GW of wind and photo voltaic mixed was constructed. Records had been additionally set for every particular person expertise. Wind loved its strongest yr ever with 17.1GW constructed whereas photo voltaic bested its earlier 2016 excessive with 16.5GW accomplished.


  • Total U.S. emissions sank 9% to finish 2020 20% under 2005 ranges as results of the pandemic. The U.S. acquired on observe to satisfy its Paris Agreement purpose however 2021 emissions will rebound with financial restoration.
  • CO2 emissions from highway, rail, and aviation fell furthest (-14%) however transportation stays the best emitting sector. Lower journey charges had been chargeable for the decline.


  • U.S. vitality “productiveness” (GDP / complete vitality consumption) rose, however not primarily for optimistic causes as financial hardship prompted many shoppers to chop again…

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