The United States consumed a record amount of renewable energy in 2020 – Today in Energy

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June 16, 2021

In 2020, the consumption of renewable energy in the United States increased for the fifth consecutive year, reaching a record 11.6 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), or 12% of the total energy consumption of the United States. . Renewable energy was the only source of energy consumption in the United States that increased in 2020 compared to 2019; the consumption of fossil and nuclear fuels has declined. Our Renewable energy consumption in the United States by source and by sector The graph shows the amount of renewable energy by source consumed by each sector.

We convert energy sources into common heat units, called British thermal units (Btu), to compare different types of energy that are typically measured in units that are not directly comparable, such as gallons of biofuel versus per kilowatt-hours of wind power.

We use a fossil fuel equivalency to calculate the primary energy consumption of non-fuel renewable energies (wind, hydroelectric, solar and geothermal), which are not burned to generate electricity and therefore have no burn rate. inherent Btu conversion. In this approach, we convert non-combustible renewables from kilowatt-hours to Btu using the weighted average annual conversion rate to Btu for all fossil fuels burned to generate electricity in the United States during that year in order to estimate the amount of fossil energy replaced by these renewable sources.

We use the fossil fuel equivalence approach to report the contribution of non-fuel renewables to total primary energy, in part because the resulting primary energy shares are closer to the shares of electricity produced. This calculation also represents the energy that would have been consumed if the electricity from renewable sources had instead been generated by a mix of fossil fuels.

Renewable energy consumption in the United States


Wind energy, or electricity produced by wind turbines, is almost exclusively consumed in the electric power sector. Wind power accounted for about 26% of renewable energy consumption in the United States in 2020. Wind overtook hydropower in 2019 to become the most consumed renewable energy source on an annual basis. In 2020, wind energy consumption in the United States increased by 14% compared to 2019.

Hydroelectric power, or electricity produced by hydraulic turbines, is almost exclusively consumed in the electric power sector. It accounted for about 22% of US renewable energy use in 2020. US hydropower consumption has been relatively stable since the 1970s, but fluctuates with seasonal rainfall and drought conditions. .

Wood and energy waste, including wood, wood pellets, and biomass waste from landfills, accounted for about 22% of renewable energy use in the United States in 2020. Industrial, commercial and electrical facilities use wood and waste as fuel to generate electricity, generate heat and manufacture goods.

Biofuels, including fuel ethanol, biodiesel, and other renewable fuels, accounted for about 17% of renewable energy consumption in the United States in 2020. Biofuel consumption in the United States declined by 11% per Compared to 2019, overall energy consumption in the transportation sector declined in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solar energy accounted for about 11% of renewable energy consumption in the United States in 2020. Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, including roof panels, and solar thermal power plants use sunlight to generate electricity. ‘electricity. Some residential and commercial buildings use solar heating systems to heat the water and the building. Overall, U.S. solar consumption in 2020 increased 22% from 2019.

Main contributor: Mickey francois


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