Issue Date: September 3, 2007
Renewable Energy Consumption Up 7%
U.S. renewable energy use increased by 7% last year, while overall U.S. energy consumption dropped 1%, mostly due to declining fossil fuel use, according to a recent report by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. Overall, renewable energy provided 7% of all U.S. energy in 2006, with 56% of renewable energy used to generate electricity. Wind energy showed the largest increase in capacity (45%) to 11,119 MW, some 4 % of all renewable energy. In comparison, hydropower provided 42% of all renewable energy, remaining the largest overall renewable energy source, and solar energy was the smallest, at 1%. Along with wind, much of the growth was due to greater biofuel consumption, which increased 27%, primarily due to nearly 5 billion gal of ethanol production. About 14% of the U.S. corn crop went to ethanol production, the report says, and the corn price reached nearly $4.00 per bushel during 2006, well above its historic average of $2.40 per bushel. Ethanol was the primary force behind growing corn demand, the report notes, but a new Asian market for meat from corn-fed animals also played an important role.
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