U.S. fossil fuel production fell 7% from 2015 to 2016. Most of this decline was from coal production, which decreased 18% and fell to its lowest level since 1978. Relatively low natural gas prices, especially in the first half of 2016, and relatively flat electricity demand contributed to the decline in coal production. Petroleum and natural gas production also declined, falling 5% and 2%, respectively, as prices for both fuels were below their respective 2015 levels.
After declining slightly in 2015, U.S. renewable energy production increased 7% in 2016. Wind energy made up almost half the increase in renewable production, while solar energy accounted for nearly a quarter. Both fuels saw substantial electricity generating capacity additions in 2015 and 2016. Hydroelectricity also accounted for almost a quarter of the increase in renewable energy production, largely because of easing drought conditions in the West Coast states, where most of the U.S. hydroelectric capacity is located.