Renewable Energy Soars in U.S.


Renewables made up 10.6 percent of the energy produced in the United States in the first half of the year, said the U.S. Energy Information Administration in a report released this week.

That represents a 5 percent growth from 3.44 quadrillion Btu of renewable-energy production in the first half of last year. Most of that growth came from wind power, which increased production by nearly 49 percent from the year-ago quarter to 244 trillion Btu.

Biofuels and biomass energy make up the largest portion of U.S. renewable-energy generation, producing 1.88 quadrillion Btu in the first half of 2008, followed by hydropower, which accounted for 1.38 quadrillion Btu. Geothermal power made up 17 trillion Btu and solar made up only 41 million Btu.

"The significant contribution being made by renewable energy sources to the nation's energy supply documented by the U.S. Energy Information Administration is far greater than most Americans realize," said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the Sun Day Campaign, a nonprofit that promotes renewable energy. "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."

Of course, these numbers represent only the United States' domestically produced energy.

According to the report, the country used 50.67 quadrillion Btu of energy, of which 16.51 quadrillion Btu were imported. Including the 24 trillion Btu of imported renewable energy, renewables made up 7.36 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption.

That compares with nuclear power, which provided 8.07 percent of the country's energy, coal, which made up 21.93 percent, natural gas, which supplied 25.22 percent, and petroleum, which accounted for 37.25 percent.

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