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Trends in Renewable Energy Consumption and Electricity

With data for 2010  |  Release Date: December 11, 2012  |  Next Release Date: Suspended 

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Summary

U.S. renewable energy consumption grew by 6 percent, from 7.600 quadrillion Btu in 2009 to 8.090 quadrillion Btu in 2010. The relative share of renewable energy to total energy consumption has grown to 8 percent in 2010.

Of the major renewable fuel categories, biomass accounted for over half (53 percent) of total renewable energy consumption in 2010, while hydroelectric power accounted for nearly a third (31 percent). Wind was the source of 11 percent of total renewable energy consumption, and solar and geothermal combined contributed 5 percent.


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Total renewable energy consumption rose by 490 trillion Btu in 2010. Each of the renewable fuels, except hydroelectric power, contributed to this growth. Consumption of hydroelectric power fell by 130 trillion Btu. Biomass consumption grew by 382 trillion Btu (primarily due to increased ethanol consumption), accounting for the bulk of the increase in total renewable energy consumption. Wind energy consumption had the second largest increase, up by 202 trillion Btu. Smaller increases occurred in the consumption of solar energy and geothermal energy, amounting to 28 trillion Btu and 8 trillion Btu, respectively. Although solar energy contributed relatively little in terms of the absolute increase in total renewable energy consumption in 2010, solar energy use exhibited the highest rate of growth of all the renewable fuel categories.


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All end-use sectors exhibited increases in consumption of total renewable energy in 2010, but the electric power sector consumed the largest share. Electric power sector consumption accounted for about 50 percent of total renewable energy consumption, followed by the industrial sector, which accounted for 28 percent. Although hydroelectric power remains the dominant source of renewable energy consumption in the electric power sector, its market share has gradually declined over the last five years due to the precipitous increase in wind generation capacity coupled with relatively stagnant growth in hydroelectric generation capacity.


The transportation sector accounted for 13 percent of total renewable energy consumption in 2010, compared to 7 percent in 2006. Growth in biofuels (mainly ethanol) consumption has contributed to the transportation sector being the fastest-growing end-use sector in the last five years. Renewable energy consumption in the transportation sector has more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.


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Data Tables

1 U.S. energy consumption by energy source, 2006 - 2010    
2 Renewable energy consumption by energy-use sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010    
3 Renewable energy consumption for electricity generation by energy-use sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010    
4 Renewable energy consumption for non-electric use by energy-use sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010    
5 Biofuels overview, 2006 - 2010    
6 Waste energy consumption by type of waste and energy-use sector, 2010    
7 Industrial biomass energy consumption and electricity net generation by industry and energy source, 2010    
8 Electricity net generation from renewable energy by energy-use sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010    
9 Total renewable net generation by energy source and State, 2009    
10 Renewable electric power sector net generation by energy source and State, 2009    
11 Renewable commercial and industrial sector net generation by energy source and State, 2009    
12 Total renewable net generation by energy source and State, 2010    
13 Renewable electric power sector net generation by energy source and State, 2010    
14 Renewable commercial and industrial sector net generation by energy source and State, 2010    
15 Renewable market share of net generation by State, 2009 and 2010    
16 U.S. electric net summer capacity, 2006 - 2010    
17 Total renewable net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2009    
18 Renewable electric power sector net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2009    
19 Renewable commercial and industrial sector net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2009    
20 Total renewable net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2010    
21 Renewable electric power sector net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2010    
22 Renewable commercial and industrial sector net summer capacity by energy source and State, 2010    
23 Net summer capacity of plants with the capability to cofire biomass and coal, 2009 and 2010    
A1 Other non-renewable energy consumption by energy-use sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010    
A2 Other non-renewable net electricity generation by energy use-sector and energy source, 2006 - 2010