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Renewable Energy Mid-Year Report: 10% US Energy Consumption, 14% Net Electrical Generation

According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, solar, and wind) provided 9.81 percent of U.S. energy consumption and 11.82 percent of domestic energy production for the first half of 2013.

EIA's earlier-issued "Electric Power Monthly" revealed that renewables had provided 14.20 percent of net electrical generation during the first six months of the year.

Compared to the same time frame in 2012, overall renewable energy production, including conventional hydropower, was 2.00 percent higher while production from non-hydro renewables grew by 4.13 percent. Specifically, solar grew by 32.46 percent in 2013, wind by 20.14 percent, geothermal by 0.89 percent, and biomass by 0.42 percent. Hydropower slipped by 2.59 percent and biofuels by 5.92 percent. 

Among the renewable energy sources, hydropower's share during the first half of 2013 was 30.18 percent, biomass 25.26 percent, biofuels 20.18 percent, wind 18.80 percent, solar 3.19 percent, and geothermal 2.39 percent. 

Production from all renewable energy sources, including conventional hydropower, is about 60 percent higher in 2013 than it was in 2003 while production from non-hydro renewable energy sources has more than doubled.

Over the past decade, domestic energy production from wind has increased by a factor of nearly 16 while output from both biofuels and solar is now about five times higher than in 2003. Geothermal has also grown — by about 30 percent — while biomass and hydropower have remained largely unchanged.

By comparison, during the past ten years, domestic energy production from fossil fuels has increased by about 11 percent and from nuclear power by only 1 percent.

Renewable sources — particularly solar, wind, and biofuels — have been the real growth industries in the energy market over the past decade. They now provide more energy than nuclear and more electricity than oil.

Lead image: Wind turbines via Shutterstock

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