Energy and You
The benefits of clean energy include:
- Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
- Lower consumer energy bills
- Enhanced state and local economic development and job creation
- Improved energy system reliability and security
Today, more than ever, consumers have the ability to choose clean energy, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and efficient combined heat and power. EPA's Clean Energy website can help you understand what clean energy is, how energy use affects the environment, what your personal impact is, and how you can help reduce that impact.
- What is the impact of electricity generation on the environment?
- How clean is the electricity I use?
- How can I reduce my impact?
What Is the Impact of Electricity Generation on the Environment?
Of the total energy consumed in America, about 40% is used to generate electricity. Therefore, electricity consumption is an important portion of a consumer's environmental footprint.
All forms of electricity generation have some level of environmental impact. As the chart below shows, most of the electricity in the United States is generated using fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. A small but growing percentage is generated using renewable sources such as solar and wind.
Fuel Mix for U.S. Electricity Generation
In the interactive chart below, mouse over the columns to see the amount and percentage of electricity generated by each source, and click on a resource type in the legend to add or remove it from the chart. Download the source data file.
Read more about the impacts of electricity generation on the environment. There are also opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of your transportation choices. Learn more from EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
How Clean Is the Electricity I Use?
The emissions caused by power generation vary across the country due to many factors, including: how much electricity is generated, the electricity generation technologies used, and air pollution control devices used.
Please see the latest eGRID summary tables (PDF) (13 pp., 1.47MB, About PDF) for emissions, emission rate, and resource mix information for electricity generation at the state, eGRID subregion, NERC region, and national level.
You can use also use Power Profiler to generate a report about the electricity generation in your area of the country. All you need is your zip code. Power Profiler takes about five minutes to use.
How Can I Reduce My Impact?
There are many ways to reduce the environmental impacts of your energy use. Read on to learn more:
- What You Can Do
- Reducing energy use in your home and at the office
- Clean energy information for small business