Where Our Electricity Comes From
About 90% of U.S. electricity is generated by three fuels: coal, nuclear, and natural gas.
Most electricity is generated by rotating turbines that drive alternators. Turbines are typically driven by water, wind, hot gases, and most commonly steam. Steam is produced in several ways:
- From water that is boiled by burning either fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, or petroleum) or biomass materials (wood, wood waste, municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, and other waste materials) or by nuclear fission
- From geothermal resources where hot water or steam under pressure in geothermal reservoirs in the earth’s crust emerges from the ground and drives a turbine
- From a fluid heated by the sun (solar power)
Source: Energy Information Administration