In 2010, all forms of renewable energy provided 8.2 quadrillion BTUs of primary energy production in the United States, a little less than 11% of our total production of 74.9 quads. At the same time, nuclear power provided 8.4 quads, a little more than 11% of the total.
This is data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review for March 2011. Given that renewable power continues to grow at a healthy clip, while nuclear power has stagnated in recent years, renewables may well deliver more total primary production than nuclear sometime this year.
Here’s some more detail on how energy production breaks down within the renewable resource category (via Cleantechnica):
- biomass/biofuels “” 51.98%
- hydropower “” 30.66%
- wind “” 11.29%
- geothermal “” 4.68%
- solar “” 1.38%
The EIA reported these changes in energy production from 2009 to 2010:
- wind energy increased by 28%
- biomass/biofuels increased by 10%
- solar and geothermal increased by 4% each
- hydropower dropped by 6%
Since 2007, nuclear power has been flat while renewable resources have delivered 22% more primary energy. So, again, it’s entirely possible if not likely that renewables will deliver more primary production than nuclear sometime this year — and once they do pass nukes, renewables will stay almost certainly stay ahead throughout this century, given that their costs are declining, unlike nuclear (see Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?)