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U.S. renewable energy production growing rapidly

‘Monthly Energy Review’
“’ latest issue shows
the rapidly narrowing
gap between nuclear
and renewable energy
Washington DC, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 07 April 2011 – Nuclear power and renewable energy sources are now neck-in-neck in the United States, with nuclear power’s share of domestic energy production dropping while that from renewable sources is growing rapidly.

According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the share of domestic U.S. energy production derived from renewable energy sources (biomass/bio-fuels, geothermal, solar, water and wind) rose to 10.92% in 2010, up from 10.65% in 2009. By comparison, nuclear power’s share of domestic energy production dropped from 11.48% in 2009 to 11.26% in 2010.

The report adds that overall domestic production of renewable energy, including hydropower, increased by 5.6% in 2010 compared to the previous year. However, non-hydro renewable power increased by 11.6% from 2009 to 2010.

It reveals that among renewable energy sources, biomass and bio-fuels combined accounted for 51.98% of the total, followed by hydropower (30.66%), wind (11.29%), geothermal (4.68%), and solar (1.38%).

Comparing 2010 production to that in 2009, wind energy increased by 28%, biomass/bio-fuels by 10%, and solar and geothermal by 4% each. Hydropower dropped by 6%.

Looking at just the electricity sector, the latest issue of EIA’s "Electric Power Monthly" reveals that non-hydropower renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, solar and wind) increased by 16.5% over 2009 and provided 4.08% of net U.S. electrical generation. Renewable power, including hydropower, accounted for 10.32% of net electrical generation.

During 2010, solar increased by 45.8%, wind grew by 28.1%, geothermal expanded by 4.4%, and biomass increased by 3.7%. Among the non-hydro renewable sources, wind accounted for 56.3%, biomass for 33.6%, geothermal for 9.3%, and solar for 0.8%. Nuclear power’s share of net electrical generation dropped from 20.22% in 2009 to 19.59% in 2010.

Against the backdrop of the on-going nuclear disaster in Japan and the pressure for financial belt-tightening at home, the U.S. government’s latest energy statistics once again confirm that limited federal dollars are far better invested in rapidly expanding renewable energy technologies and not in the black hole that is nuclear power.