Renewable Energy Tops 10% of U.S. Energy Production

According to the latest “Monthly Energy Review” issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewable energy accounted for more than 10 percent of the domestically-produced energy used in the United States in the first half of 2008.

For the period January, 1 to June 30, 2008, the United States consumed 50.673 quadrillion Btus (quads) of energy. Of that amount, 34.162 quads was from domestic sources and 16.511 quads was imported. Domestically-produced renewable energy (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totaled 3.606 quads, an amount equal to 10.56% of U.S. energy consumption that is domestically-produced.

This share is only slightly less than nuclear power’s 11.98% contribution. And while consumption of nuclear power dropped to 4.091 quads, down from 4.119 quads during the first half of 2008, compared to the same period for 2007, renewable energy’s share increased by 5% to 3.606 quads, up from 3.439 quads.

Biomass and biofuels combined presently constitute the largest source of renewable energy in the United States at 1.883 quads, followed by hydropower at 1.387 quads. Wind power saw the largest growth rate of any generation technology, increasing from 0.164 quads to 0.244 quads a jump of almost 49% from the first half of 2007 compared to the first half of 2008. Solar and geothermal’s contributions were at roughly the same levels in 2008 as they were in 2007, 41 and 172 trillion Btus respectively. Both however could greatly expand their market share in the near future as technology improves and states turn to the two technologies to meet Renewable Portfolio Standards.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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