Renewable Energy Quick Facts

Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid

  • Renewable energy sources come from natural sources and can be replenished. 
  • Examples of renewable sources are: biomass (wood, wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas, ethanol
    and biodiesel), water (hydropower), wind and solar. Except for hydropower, they are all derived from the sun.
  • More than 150 years ago, wood supplied up to 90 percent of the nation’s energy needs. 
  • As the use of coal, petroleum and natural gas expanded, the United States became less reliant on wood
    as an energy source. Today, coal, petroleum and natural gas account for 83 percent of the nation’s energy
  • In 2009, consumption of renewable sources in the United States totaled 7.7 quadrillion Btu—or about 8
    percent of all energy used nationally.
  • More than half of renewable energy sources are devoted to producing electricity.
  • In 2009, renewable sources accounted for about 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation. When renewable
    energy sources are used, the demand for fossil fuels is reduced. 
  • Unlike fossil fuels, non-biomass renewable sources of energy (hydropower, wind and solar) do not directly
    emit greenhouse gases. 
  • The production and use of renewable fuels has grown more quickly in recent years as a result of higher
    prices for oil and natural gas, and a number of state and federal government incentives, including the Energy
    Policy Acts of 2002 and 2005.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration