Renewable Energy Climbs in United States

Renewable energy consumption increased 3 percent between 1998 and 1999, and now accounts for almost 8 percent of energy consumption in the United States, according to the latest government data.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001.03.14 <> The total contribution from renewables at the end of 1999 was more than 7 quadrillion Btu, according to ‘Renewable Energy Annual 2000’ released this month by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical agency for the U.S. Department of Energy. Hydro and biomass continue to dominate the renewable energy market, with respective shares of 49 and 44 percent. Most of the increase in 1999 was due to biomass consumption, where wood burning accounts for 80 percent of the biomass market. Consumption of energy for hydroelectric power dropped for a second consecutive year. Although comprising far less in market share, geothermal and wind energy consumption grew at a more rapid rate. Geothermal increased from 0.333 quadrillion Btu in 1995 to 0.373 in 1999, while wind went from 0.033 to 0.046. Solar thermal and solar electric declined from 0.073 to 0.072. From 1998 to 1999, wind power expanded 50 percent while geothermal increased 14 percent, details the EIA report. Total renewable energy was 6.964 quadrillion Btu in 1995, 7.452 in 1996, 7.373 in 1997, 6.993 in 1998 and 7.212 in 1999. Generation of electricity from renewable sources in the U.S. rose 1 percent in 1999 from 1998. This reflects a decline in hydroelectric generation balanced against growth in electricity generated from other renewable sources. The five leading States for renewable generation (in order of importance) in 1999 were Washington, California, Oregon, New York and Idaho, where hydro dominated. Combined, these States account for 62 percent of renewable electricity in the U.S. Renewable energy consumption for non-electric use rose nearly 7 percent in 1999, compared with a 2 percent gain for renewable energy input to electricity generation. More than 97 percent of this was from biomass energy.

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