What energy is used the most to generate new electricity?

Grade level:  4th – 5th grade

Skills:  Circle graphs 

Related environmental issues: Energy

Area level: National

To meet energy needs in the United States, the nation has increased the country’s electricity generation by developing and using both non-renewable and renewable energy.  The circle graph below shows what energy sources the country used to generate new electricity in 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.31.58 AM

1.What energy source did the United States used the most to generate new electricity in 2015?

2.How many percentage did renewable energy make up? (Hint: renewable energy includes solar power, wind power, and other renewable energy)

3.Among the new electricity added in 2015, which energy source makes up more, non-renewable energy or renewable energy? (Hint: natural gas is non-renewable energy)

Source: SNL, 2016. Gas, wind contribute 82% of capacity additions in 2015

Note) New capacity addition in 2015 was 14.468 gigawatts. This problem rounded the number down to make it appropriate for the grade levels.

Note 2) 1 gigawatts means 1 billion watts


Answer keys

  1. Wind power
  2. 64% (14 + 47 + 3 = 64)
  3. Renewable energy (Renewable energy: 64% > Non-renewable energy: 36%)