Bioenergy, Geothermal, Solar

U.S. Releases Detailed Data on Renewable Energy

Statistics on the total energy consumption in the United States have made a major upward adjustment as a result of the calculation of renewable energy statistics.

WASHINGTON, DC – In its latest monthly energy review, DOE’s Energy Information Administration incorporates renewable energy data that were not previously available. The additional renewable energy raise both U.S. total energy production and total energy consumption in 1999 by 4 quadrillion British thermal units. The revised data indicate that consumption of all renewables in the first ten months of last year was 6,002 Trillion Btu (T-Btu), down from 6,289 in the first ten months of 1999. Conventional hydroelectric output (excluding pumped storage) is the major contributor to renewables in the U.S. and has been dropping since 1997. Biomass is in second spot, followed by waste and then geothermal. EIA data on geothermal now include both generation of electricity as well as earth energy heat pumps. Based on ten month comparisons, solar thermal and PV generation and solar thermal direct use dropped from 61 T-Btu in 1998 to 53 last year. Grid-connected wind turbines generated 26 T-Btu in 1998, 41 in 1999 and 45 in 2000. By end-use sector, residences consumed 337 T-Btu of wood energy in the first ten months of last year, while they used 7 of geothermal and 53 of solar. The commercial sector used 47 of wood and 6 of geothermal. In the electricity sector, non-utility power producers relied on hydroelectric dams for 149 T-Btu of generation in the first ten months of last year, with biomass at 379, waste at 234 and geothermal at 240. Solar data are not available, and wind was 45 T-Btu. Among utilities, hydro was the major source with 2,248 T- Btu in that period, followed by waste at 12 and geothermal at 3 (down from 90 during the comparable period of 1998). Solar and wind are labelled as scant sources. In 1989, the first year in which EIA estimated all renewable energy sources, the total consumption was 6,465 T-Btu, of which geothermal was 374 (up from 334), solar was 63 (up from 59) and wind was 46 (up from 24 T-Btu).