SUN DAY Campaign reads EIA renewables numbers

Washington, D.C. October 4, 2010. According to the most recent issue of the “Monthly Energy Review” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided 11.14 percent of domestic U.S. energy production during the first six months of 2010—the latest time-frame for which data has been published. 

This continues the steady growth trend for renewable energy.  Renewables accounted for 10.71 percent of domestic energy production during the first six months of 2009 and 10.35 percent during the first six months of 2008. 

Renewable energy sources provided 4.106 quadrillion Btus between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010—an increase of 4.91 percent over the first half of 2009 and an increase of 8.37 percent over the first half of 2008. The largest single renewable energy source was biomass (including biofuels) which accounted for 50.66 percent of renewable energy production, followed by hydropower at 32.56 percent. Wind, geothermal, and solar sources provided 10.91 percent, 4.53 percent, and 1.32 percent of the total renewable energy output respectively.   

Moreover, renewable energy’s contribution to the nation’s domestic energy production is now almost equal to that provided by nuclear power. Nuclear power accounted for 11.19 percent of domestic energy production during the first half of 2010—compared to 11.14 percent from renewables. But, while renewable sources continue to expand, nuclear output in 2010 dropped—declining by 1.3 percent from its comparable 2009 level.

“When Congress resumes its debate on pending energy and climate legislation in the post-election lame-duck session, it would do well to take note of the clear trends in the nation’s changing energy mix,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign.  “Renewable energy has proven itself to be a solid investment—growing rapidly and nipping at the heels of the stagnant nuclear power industry.”

And, according to EIA’s latest “Electric Power Monthly,” renewable energy sources provided 10.91 percent of net U.S. electrical generation for the same time period. Non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) provided nearly 4.07 percent of domestic U.S. electrical generation during the first half of 2010. Hydropower provided an additional 6.84 percent of net U.S. electrical generation for the same time period.

Moreover, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable sources continues to grow rapidly. According to EIA data, electricity from biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind during the first six months of 2010 increased by 13.0 percent over the amount generated during the first half of 2009. Wind-generated electricity increased by 21.4 percent; electricity from solar thermal and photovoltaics rose by 16.4 percent; wood & other forms of biomass rose by 4.5 percent; and geothermal output increased by 0.8 percent.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent “Monthly Energy Review” on September 30, 2010.  It can be found at:  http://www.eia.gov/emeu/mer/contents.html.  The relevant charts from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.2 and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” on September 15, 2010; see:  http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html. The relevant charts are Tables ES1.A, ES1.B and 1.1.A.

This note was released by The SUN DAY Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

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