Hydropower Downturn Masks Renewable Energy Growth in 2004

September 21, 2005

The U.S. use of renewable energy grew by only 1 percent in 2004, according to a report released in August by DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Why so little? The EIA's report includes power produced from conventional hydropower, which dropped by 3.5 percent in 2004. Excluding hydropower, renewable energy production increased by 4 percent, including a 3.8 percent growth in biomass energy and a 24 percent growth in wind energy, according to EIA's preliminary data. The rapid growth in wind energy was matched by only one other renewable energy source: ethanol, which is growing quickly as use of the fuel additive MTBE is declining. Unfortunately, the available data for some energy resources, such as solar power, are lacking. The EIA data for 2003 only lists solar power production in two states: California and Arizona. See "Renewable Energy Trends 2004" (PDF 838 KB). Download Adobe Reader.