America’s demand for electricity is huge, totaling 18% of the world’s electricity consumption in 2015. We take for granted that electricity will be there when we turn on the lights or crank up the air conditioner. We can’t imagine life without it. But, have you ever wondered how electricity is made, or where it comes from, or how we get it the instant we want it?
Beginning in 1879, electricity was first sold in the United States by the California Electric Light Company in San Francisco which produced and sold enough electricity to run about 20 electric lights. Since then the use of electricity has grown exponentially. Fast forward to 2016 and Americans consumed about 3.85 trillion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In this post we cover the basics about what powers this huge amount of consumption, the sources of electricity in the US, and the role of deregulation.