U.S. Consumption of Renewables to be Highest and Slowest

The United States will be one of the slowest countries in the world to increase its consumption of renewable energy over the next 20 years, according to government data.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-04-30 <SolarAccess.com> The average annual growth in consumption of renewables (including hydropower) from 1999 to 2020 will be 7.9 percent in South Korea, 6.9 in the Middle East and 6.5 percent in the Netherlands, according to the International Energy Outlook issued by DOE’s Energy Information Administration last month. By comparison, the U.S. will grow by 1.0 percent a year, ahead only of Brazil (0.6 percent) and the former Soviet Union (0.9 percent). The rates assume a normal economic growth scenario. Under a low growth scenario, U.S. consumption would increase 0.7 percent, while it would be 1.2 percent under high economic growth. Global consumption of renewables would be 2.0 percent under the reference base case, with increases of 1.2 and 2.8 percent for low and high growth scenarios, respectively. Despite the slow rate of increase, the EIA projections indicate that the actual consumption of renewables in the United States will be higher than any other country, with an estimated 8.5 quadrillion Btu to be consumed each year by 2020, more than the 8.2 quads for all of western Europe. China will be in second place for total consumption at 6.6 quads, followed by Canada at 5.2 quads, representing annual growth rates in those two nations of 5.1 and 1.8 percent respectively. On a global scenario, the 32.7 quads of renewables consumed in 1999 will grow at 2.0 percent per annum to 50 quads by 2020. The industrialized countries will consume 24.9 quads of that total, while developing nations and the former Soviet Union will consume marginally more, at 25.0 quads. Under EIA’s low economic growth scenario, total global consumption in 2020 would be 42.3 quads, with 23.0 for industrialized and 19.4 for developing nations and the former Soviet countries. Under a high growth option, consumption would reach 58.5 quads, divided 27.0 to 31.4 quads, respectively. The majority of renewable energy in the EIA projections is hydroelectric facilities for the generation of electricity.

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