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Share of renewable energy lags its growth in capacity

The amount of electricity generated from renewable energy in the United States has doubled in the past 20 years, but its share of total output has not grown by the same degree.

Wind, solar and other non-hydro renewable energy sources generated 126 TWh of electricity in the United States in 2008, double the 64 TWh of output in 1990, according to the Department of Energy (DoE). The output from renewable energy in 2000 was 81 TWh.

However, the percentage share in 2008 was 3.1% from non-hydro renewable energy, compared with 2.1% in 1990. The percentage in 2000 was also 2.1%.

The data are contained in the 2008 state-by-state summary produced by DoE’s Energy Information Administration.

IPPs well ahead of utilities for renewable energy

Almost 7% of the output from independent power producers in 2008 (115 TWh) came from renewable energy facilities, while renewable energy accounted for only 0.5% of the output (11 TWh) from electric utilities. The respective levels in 1990 were 23.4% and 0.4%.

The annual report describes the electricity industry in each state, from 1998 to 2008, with data on generating capability, output, fuel use and prices, retail sales, GHG emissions, and net interstate transfers of electricity.

The use of coal to generate electricity in the USA has dropped since 1990 (from 51.8% share to 48.2%), petroleum dropped from 3.6% to 1.1% and hydroelectric facilities drop from 8.9% to 6.2%. Natural gas increased its share from 14.7% to 21.4% over the period, while nuclear also increased share from 18.6% to 19.6%.

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