Renewable energy use is on the rise, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind provided a combined 10.51% of domestic U.S. energy production during the first nine months of 2009 (the latest time-frame for which such data has been published), says the most recent issue of the EIA's "Monthly Energy Review." Moreover, renewable energy's contribution to the nation's domestic energy production is now almost equal to that provided by nuclear power, which has been holding fairly steady in recent years (11.59% for the first nine months of 2009, 11.57% for the first three-quarters of 2008, and 11.92% for the first three-quarters of 2007). In the first three-quarters of 2009, nuclear power increased by only 0.41% compared to the same period in 2008, while domestic fossil fuel production actually dropped by 0.30%.
"When Congress resumes its debate on pending energy and climate legislation in 2010, it would do well to take note of the clear trends in the nation's changing energy mix," says Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit information clearinghouse, and coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Coalition. "Renewable energy has proven itself to be a solid investment — growing rapidly and nipping at the heels of the stagnant nuclear power industry — while fossil fuel use continues to drop." The U.S. Senate will likely begin climate bill deliberations in early 2010.