Growth in U.S. Renewable Energy Production Remains Strong

Renewable sources now provide 10.5  Percent of  US energy production and 10.2 percent of net grid-connected electrical generation –

According to figures released in the latest issue of the Monthly Energy Review from the US Energy Information Administration renewable energy sources  – biofuel, biomass, geothermal, solar, wind, and hydro) – supplied 10.51 percent of all domestic energy production during the first nine months of 2009 – the most recent period for which data is available.

Further, the EIA’s latest Electric Power Monthly reports that 10.21 percent of net US electrical production for the same period came from renewable sources.

The latest data from the EIA confirms that growth in renewable energy sources remains strong. Domestic renewable energy production grew by 4.10 percent for the first nine months of 2009 as compared to the first nine months of 2008 – an increase of 0.228 quadrillion BTU (British Thermal Unit). Most of that increase came from wind and hydropower sources. Wind expanded by 28.46 percent and hydro by 4.73 percent for the first nine month of 2009, compared with the same period for 2008.

Biomass (comprised of 60 percent wood and waste, 40 percent biofuel) grew by 1.34 percent, reflecting a 10.96 percent increase in biofuels production. Solar and geothermal expansion remained generally flat.

The mix of renewable energy sources:

  • Hydropower – 35.16 percent
  • Biomass – 30.72 percent
  • Biofuels – 20.25 percent
  • Wind – 8.17 percent
  • Geothermal – 4.52 percent
  • Solar – 1.17 percent

Less coal

Even while energy generated from renewable sources has grown, net electrical generation from all sources for the first nine months of 2009 declined, compared to the same period for 2008, by 4.72 percent – with coal-generated electricity falling by 12.86 percent

When Congress resumes its 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,” 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 – while fossil fuel use continues to drop.”


The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the “Monthly Energy Review” on December 23, 2009.   The relevant tables from which the data above are extrapolated are Tables 1.2 and 10.1.  EIA released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” on December 16, 2009. The most relevant charts are Tables 1.1 and 1.1.A

The SUN DAY Campaign is 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.

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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