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Electricity Production and Use in the U.S. Southeast

For its Southeast Regional Clean Energy Policy Analysis, NREL examined the electricity production and use in the southeastern United States.

Electricity Production

  • Coal fuels 51% of the region's electricity production. However, the southeastern states depend heavily on coal imports, the majority of which is brought from outside the region.
  • Many of the coal-fired plants built during the 1950s and 1960s will be retired between 2020 and 2030.
  • In 2009, the southeastern region produced only 1.8% of its electricity from renewable resources other than hydroelectricity, half of the national average.
  • Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina are all net importers of electricity.

Electricity Use

  • The regional electricity consumption in 2007 was 16.1 megawatt-hours (MWh) per person, which was 32.4% higher than the national average of 12.1 MWh per person.
  • The region's residential sector used nearly 30% more energy than the national average in 2007.
  • Commercial sector use was slightly lower than the national average in 2007.
  • The region's industrial sector used 230% more electricity than the national average in 2007.
  • The high industrial use is likely a result of the region's concentration of energy intensive industry, such as vehicle production, chemical industries, and metal production. Energy intensive industries are likely drawn to the region by the lower than average electricity prices.
  • An estimated 20% increase in regional electricity capacity will be needed over the next 40 years to meet the demand of the region's rapidly rising population.

More Information

For more information, see the full report, Southeast Regional Clean Energy Policy Analysis.