What Industries Consume the Most Electricity?

May 27, 2022 | Electricity, Energy Efficiency for Business

The industrial sector accounts for 33% of all the electricity used in the world (the largest sector for energy consumption is residential housing, followed by commercial businesses). According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, in the United States, 77% of all industrial electricity goes to manufacturing, 12% to mining, 7% to construction, and 5% to agriculture. 

From the list of high energy consumption industries in manufacturing, chemicals account for 37%, followed by petroleum and coal products at 22%, paper and paper products at 11%, primary metals 8% and the remainder is made up of food, non-metallic metals and all other categories. 

The Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey from 2018 (the most recent numbers available) indicates that the amount of energy (including non-electricity energy sources) used by these top six industries equated to 16.9 quadrillion BTU (British Thermal Unit). A BTU is how much energy is required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

The top 4 industries that consume the most energy

1. Chemical Industry

The chemical industry is very diverse, with many companies producing thousands of products. Despite this, a small number of products account for a large portion of the energy consumption. These products include ammonia, chlorine and alkalines, ethylene, and other petrochemical intermediates.

2. Petroleum and Coal Industry

This manufacturing subsector is the process of transforming crude petroleum and coal into usable products. This includes the process of cracking and distillation of petroleum into component products, creation of lubricating oils, asphalt coatings, etc.

3. Paper Industry

The energy use in the paper industry is split about in half between papermaking and pulping. Energy is used in the pulping of wood to prepare the fiber, which is then turned into paper.

4. Primary Metals Industry

The primary metal manufacturing subsector consists of iron and steel mills, alumina and aluminum production and processing, foundries, etc.

What company uses the most electricity?

The most high energy use businesses in the world for electricity consumption in the commercial sector are Samsung, at 22,916,000 megawatt hours, followed by TSMC at 16,058,000 megawatt hours, Alphabet (Google) at 12,237,000 megawatt hours, Microsoft at 10,244,000 megawatt hours, Intel at 7,170,000 megawatt hours, and Facebook at 7,170,000 megawatt hours. 

At that point there is a steep drop off in electric power usage in the commercial sector. There are still businesses that use lots of electricity, relatively speaking, especially when you look at local markets. Small businesses, though small by themselves, account for 95% of all businesses in the United States, and that business energy consumption adds up. 

Other Energy Consumption Groups

When it comes to pure energy usage, not just electricity, the primary energy consumer is the transportation sector, both the manufacturing and moving of all vehicles in the country–including ground, air, and sea vehicles. These primarily are using fossil fuels, though some are switching to renewable sources such as electric cars.  

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