From the President's Desk Manufacturing

US Electricity Production Provides Safety and Potential

By Alan Beaulieu on May 18, 2023

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Alan Beaulieu

With a reputation as an accurate, straightforward economist, Alan Beaulieu has been delivering award-winning workshops and economic analysis seminars across the world to thousands of business executives for the last 30 years.

Society and the economy are dependent on reliable electricity generation and distribution.


The energy sources are domestic.

  • Domestic sourcing ensures the power flows despite supply chain disruptions.
  • Nationalism, deglobalization, and wars could cripple economic activity in other nations.
  • US energy sources (natural gas, wind, sun) are abundant and can grow with the demand.

Energy resources are half the issue. A significant investment in infrastructure for generation and distribution is needed.

US utility-scale electricity sources and share in 2022:

Natural Gas 8%
Coal 5%
Nuclear 2%
Wind 2%
Hydro 2%
Solar 4%
Other 7%


The United States is the world’s largest producer and consumer of natural gas as measured in cubic meters (2020). Our abundance of natural gas as well as the other sources cited above gives us both economic and national security in the event of a global crisis if we build out the necessary infrastructure needed for each energy source and for distribution.

Russia is the second-largest producer and consumer of natural gas and has the added benefit of consuming less than half of what it produces. China is a net importer of natural gas, as it produces only 58.7% of what is consumes, which leaves the Chinese economy exposed to energy disruption. This risk exposure is highlighted by the fact that more than half of China’s natural gas imports come from Australia, a key ally of the US. The US is the second-most-prominent source of imported natural gas for China that would qualify as a potentially unfriendly source. Qatar and Malaysia provide about the same as the US and are relatively neutral relative to China.


There are real opportunities for businesses to prosper in the years to come in the electricity generation and distribution industry.

  • Recent difficulties in Texas and California highlight stresses on the electricity sector.
  • Significant investment in this sector can be anticipated for years to come.
  • The build-up and integration of new energy sources will be a boon to many providers.

The US is shifting away from coal generated electricity, though it will take years to reach the goal of a coal-free US power industry. Coal accounted for 52.5% of total net electricity generated in 1990, 44.8% in 2010, and has since fallen more quickly, to 18.5% through February 2023. The switch to other, most likely renewable, energy sources will create large opportunities for many companies at the same time the “creative destruction” of technology shifts creates problems for the coal industry

States With a Large Potential for Change

The following seven states are the most dependent on coal in terms of net electricity produced. These states in particular will need to invest heavily in other energy sources given prevailing political and societal pressures. North Dakota is heavily involved with wind-generated electricity, at 34.1% of the total, which suggests that the additional investment alternatives may not always be obvious.

State Coal %
WV 90.8
MO 74.4
WY 73.3
KY 70.7
UT 61.8
IN 57.7
ND 57.1


Electricity generation and distribution can be forecasted, and we can show you how your particular business compares to cycles within this industry. Contact us at itr@itreconomics.com. Participating within the particular segments could provide your business with strong demand opportunities. Knowing the overall economic environment can provide you the wherewithal to engage the factors of production in the most efficient manner.

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