U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

U.S. Renewable Energy Use Continue to Grow: LLNL Report

August 7, 2013

The United States used more electricity from solar and wind energy sources in 2012 than in the previous year, according to the Energy Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) annual analysis. The rise in renewables is tied to both prices—the underlying cost of solar panels and wind turbines has gone down—and policies , such as government incentives or renewable energy targets in various states. LLNL, which tracks the nation's consumption of energy resources, reported that wind power saw the biggest gains, reaching a total of 1.36 quadrillion BTU (quads) produced in 2012 compared to 1.17 quads in 2011. New wind farms continue to come on line with bigger, more efficient wind turbines to generate electricity. Solar energy jumped from 0.158 quads in 2011 to 0.235 quads in 2012, spurred by declines in prices of photovoltaic panels, the report said.

Overall, the United States used an estimated 95.1 quads in 2012, which was 2.2 quads less than the previous year. The most energy was used for electricity generation, followed by energy used in the transportation, industrial, and residential sectors. Last year, energy use in the residential, commercial, and transportation sectors decreased while industrial energy use increased slightly. See the LLNL press release.