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November 10, 2011

Renewable energy is used in all sectors of the U.S. economy

graph of primary renewable energy consumption by end-use and electric power sectors, 2010, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review.
Note: 2010 data are preliminary.
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U.S. consumption of primary renewable energy in 2010 totaled about 8 quadrillion British thermal units, or 8% of all energy used nationally. Renewable energy—including hydroelectric, wood, biofuels, wind, organic waste, geothermal, and solar—was used for a wide variety of purposes.

  • Electric power sector: to generate electricity, primarily from hydroelectric, followed by wind
  • Industrial sector: for manufacturing applications. Over half of this was in the form of wood and wood waste (bark, sawdust, wood chips, wood scrap, and paper mill residues). Many manufacturing plants in the wood and paper products industry use wood waste to produce their own steam and electricity.
  • Transportation sector: as biofuels, mainly ethanol blended into motor gasoline
  • Residential sector: mainly wood burned for heating and cooking
  • Commercial sector: mainly wood and wood waste for heating, cooking, and combined heat and power applications