Terry Jeffrey

Americans may look back in a few decades and see that 2007 was the year that production of electricity peaked in the United States and our nation began powering down.

This may make many on the environmentalist left -- including President Barack Obama's top science and technology adviser -- very happy.

But it will not make life better for you, your children or your grandchildren.

According to data published by the Energy Information Administration, the United States generated a total of approximately 4,157 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2007. We had never produced that much before. We have never produced that much since.

In 2012, the last full year for which there is data, the United States produced 4,048 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity -- down 2.6 percent from 2007.

In the first nine months of 2013, the United States produced 3,078 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity -- down from the 3,096 the United States produced in first nine months of 2012.

The shift in the long-term trend in U.S. electricity production becomes more obvious when viewed on a per capita basis.

I took the EIA's numbers for annual total net electricity generation in the United States, which go back to 1949, and divided them by the Census Bureau's estimates for the U.S. population in July of each year.

In 1950, the U.S. produced approximately 334,088 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for a population of 152,271,417. That works out to 0.00219 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per person.

In 1959, the U.S. produced approximately 713,379 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for a population of 177,829,628. That was 0.00401 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per person.

In the ten years from 1950 through 1959, U.S. per capita electricity production increased by 0.00182 -- or 83.1 percent.

America in the 1950s was powering up.

From 1960 to 1969, per capita electricity production increased 69.8 percent. America was still powering up -- but not as aggressively as in the 1950s.

From 1970 to1979, per capita electricity production grew by 33.6 percent. From 1980 to 1989, it grew by 19.3 percent. And, from 1990 to 1999, it grew by 11.3 percent. But from 2000 to 2009, it declined by 4.4 percent.

Per capita electricity production in this country peaked in 2007, the same year electricity production itself peaked. That year, the United States generated 4,156,745 million kilowatt-hours for a population of 301,231,207 -- a per capita production of about 0.01379 million kilowatt hours.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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