Renewable energy sources gain inexorably in U.S.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources provided just over 10 percent of both U.S. energy (10.51%) and electricity (10.21%) during the first nine months of 2009.

That's the word from the Sun Day Campaign, a Takoma Park, MD-based nonprofit that tracks the EIA quarterly reports and extracts info on renewables (biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind).

Items from the group's most recent release, dated December 28, 2009:

– The percentage of total energy supplied by renewables is expanding, slowly but surely, from 9.67% during the same period in 2007, to 10.12% in 2008, to last year's 10.51%. The gain from 2008 to 2009 amounts to 4.1% in absolute terms (0.228 quadrillion BTUs, an amount equivalent to about 39 million barrels of oil or 10 million tons of coal). And the primary gainer was wind power, which expanded by 28.46% on a year-over-year basis.

– The same trend of expansion applies to electricity supply for renewables generally (8.72% in 2007, 9.18% in 2008, 10.21% in 2009) and for non-hydro renewables (2.44%, 2.91%, and 3.32%, respectively).

– Renewable energy’s contribution to the nation’s domestic energy production is now almost equal to that provided by nuclear power, which has been holding fairly steady in recent years (11.59% for the first nine months of 2009, 11.57% for the same period in 2008, and 11.92% for 2007).

Commented Sun Day Executive Director Ken Bossong, “When Congress resumes the debate on pending energy and climate legislation in 2010, it would do well to take note of the clear trends in the nation’s changing energy mix.”

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