Renewable energy tops 10 percent of U.S. use

According to the latest "Monthly Energy Review" issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (Sept. 24, 2008), 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 Jan. 1 — June 30, 2008, the United States consumed 50.673 quadrillion Btus (quads) of energy — of which 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 percent of U.S. energy consumption that is domestically-produced.

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

Biomass and biofuels combined presently constitute the largest source of renewable energy in the United States (1.883 quads) followed by hydropower (1.387 quads). Wind power, however, experienced the largest growth rate — increasing by almost 49 percent from the first half of 2007 compared to the first half of 2008 (0.244 quads, up from 0.164 quads).

Solar’s and geothermal’s contributions were at roughly the same levels in 2008 as they were in 2007 — although both are poised to greatly expand their market share in the near future.

“The significant contribution being made by renewable energy sources to the nation’s energy supply documented by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is far greater than most Americans realize,” said Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Repeated statements by nuclear and fossil fuel interests that renewables contribute only a tiny fraction of the nation’s energy supply are not only misleading, but flatly wrong.”

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