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Renewables share of US energy consumption highest since 1930s

Renewable energy accounted for 9.8% of total domestic energy consumption in 2014, report the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the highest renewable energy share since the 1930s, when wood was a much larger contributor to domestic energy supply.

Renewable energy use grew an average of 5% per year over 2001-2014 from its most recent low in 2001. The increase over the past 14 years was in part due to growing use of biofuels, wind and solar. During this period, the use of biomass for the production of biofuels grew from 253 trillion Btu to 2,068 trillion Btu.

Hydroelectricity was the largest source of renewable energy in 2014, however consumption has decreased from higher levels in the mid-to-late 1990s. Wood remained the second-largest renewable energy source, with recent growth driven in part by demand for wood pellets.

In 2014, slightly more than half of all renewable energy was used to generate electricity. Within the electric power sector, renewable energy accounted for 13% of energy consumed, higher than its consumption share in any other sector.

The industrial sector used 24% of the nation's renewable energy in 2014. Nearly all of that renewable energy was biomass, which included wood, waste, and biofuels used in manufacturing processes as well as in the production of heat and power.

About 13% of renewable energy used in the US today is consumed in the transportation sector, which experienced the largest percentage growth in renewable consumption from 2001 to 2014. The growing demand for liquid biofuels, including both ethanol and biodiesel, pushed renewables to nearly 5% of the sector's energy consumption in 2014.

 

SOURCE: US EIA