One in eight U.S. homes uses a programmed thermostat with a central air conditioning unit

Programmable thermostats are designed to help manage energy use, but most of the U.S. households with these controls do not choose to program their thermostats. Based on information collected through EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) for 2015, only 12% of the nation’s 118 million households had a central air-conditioning unit that is actually controlled using the programmed thermostat.

Energy commodity prices declined more than other commodities in the first half of 2017

The energy component of the Standard and Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) fell 11% during the first half of 2017, the largest decline for any commodity group in the index. Other components of the index—livestock, industrial metals, precious metals, and agriculture—had end-of-June prices that were higher than at the beginning of the year.

Dishwashers are among the least-used appliances in American homes

Compared with other major home appliances such as clothes washers, dryers, and cooking equipment, dishwashers are both less pervasive and less likely to be used when available. Of the 80 million households that have a dishwasher, 16 million (almost 20%) did not use their dishwasher in 2015, based on data from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS).

Three Mile Island is the latest nuclear power plant to announce retirement plans

At the end of May, Exelon, the owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in southeastern Pennsylvania, announced its intention to retire the plant in 2019 unless the company is given assistance by the state to help keep the plant financially viable. Exelon’s announcement marks the sixth announced nuclear retirement in the past seven years.

U.N. cap on North Korean coal exports could decrease North Korean export earnings

n 2016, the almost $1.2 billion value of North Korea’s coal exports accounted for about 40% of their total export revenue. A cap imposed by the United Nations (U.N.) on imports of coal from North Korea would limit North Korea’s coal export earnings to about US $400 million in 2017, about one-third of the previous five-year average.

Air conditioning and other appliances increase residential electricity use in the summer

Residential electricity consumption rises and falls seasonally substantially more than commercial or industrial consumption, largely because of air conditioning use in the summer. According to the most recent data from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. homes are air conditioned by central units, individual (window, wall, or portable) units, or both.

U.S. nuclear capacity and generation expected to decline as existing generators retire

Nuclear power currently accounts for about 20% of electricity generation in the United States, playing an important role in electricity markets. EIA’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2017) Reference case assumes that about 25% of the nuclear capacity now operating that does not have announced retirement plans will be removed from service by 2050.

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