Renewable energy is a source of energy that is here to stay, literally, it is renewable. Renewable energy sources are all around us. Without even knowing it, we interact with sources of renewable energy every day. From wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and other types of renewable energy, it’s safe to say that this type of energy has flourished over time. We are going to review how renewable energy has grown over the years and take look into the future.
Before getting into how renewable energy has grown over the years, we thought it would be good to provide a brief refresher as to what renewable energy is.
Renewable energy, also referred to as “clean energy”, is useful energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished, including carbon neutral sources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. To put it simply, renewable energy comes from natural sources that renew themselves.
How Renewable Energy has Grown Over the Years
While renewable energy is often thought of as a new technology; channeling nature’s power has long been used for heating, transportation, lighting, and more. The sun has been used to provide warmth during the day and wind has powered boats for many years. In more recent times, innovative and less-expensive ways have been discovered to capture and retain wind and solar energy, making renewables an important power source. Renewable energy sources account for more than one-eighth of U.S. energy generation.
Below, we have provided some statistics about renewable energy and its growth. Most of this data is based on 2020, as the 2021 full year information as not yet been released.
United States Statistics:
- Renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States, increasing 42% from 2010 to 2020 (up 90% from 2000 to 2020).
- In 2020, consumption of renewable energy in the United States grew for the fifth year in a row, reaching a record high of 11.6 quadrillion British thermal units (BTU), or 12% of total U.S. energy consumption. Renewable energy was the only source of U.S. energy consumption that increased in 2020 from 2019 (U.S. Energy Information Administration).
- Solar energy accounted for about 11% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020 and is the fastest-growing electricity source. Overall, 2020 U.S. solar consumption increased 22% from 2019.
- Wind energy accounted for about 26% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Wind surpassed hydroelectricity in 2019 to become the single most-consumed source of renewable energy on an annual basis. In 2020, U.S. wind energy consumption grew 14% from 2019.
- Renewables made up 29% of electricity generation in 2020 and is the fastest-growing energy source globally.
- About 11% of the energy consumed for heating, power, and transportation came from modern renewables in 2019 (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, and bio-fuels), up from around 9% in the previous decade.
- Over the past decade, renewable energy consumption has grown at an average annual rate of 13.7%. Renewables were the only category of energy that grew globally at double digits over the past decade.
By reviewing the above statistics, it is easy to see how renewable energy has grown over the years. As advancements and technologies in the renewable sector change and emerge, and there is a goal for a more sustainable future, it can only be expected that we continue to see more growth in renewable energy in the future.
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