Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | January 8, 2009

Environmental lawyer Sanders says U.S. is losing the battle for total renewable energy to China despite mighty wind efforts of T. Boone Pickens.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), China leads the world in total renewable energy consumption for electricity production due to its recent massive additions to hydroelectric production, followed closely by the United States, Canada, and Brazil.


However, the United States consumes the most non-hydro renewable energy for the production of electricity. The United States consumes twice as much non-hydro renewable energy for electricity production as Germany and more than three times as much as Japan.


Electricity producers consumed 51% of total U.S. renewable energy in 2007 for producing electricity. Most of the remaining 49% of renewable energy was biomass consumed for industrial applications (principally paper-making) by plants producing only heat and steam. Biomass is also used for transportation fuels (ethanol) and to provide residential and commercial space heating.


The largest share of the renewable-generated electricity comes from hydroelectric energy (71%), followed by biomass (16%), wind (9%), geothermal (4%), and solar (0.2%).  Wind-generated electricity increased by almost 21% in 2007 over 2006, more than any other energy source. Its growth rate was followed closely by solar, which increased by over 19% in 2007 over 2006.


We will fall further behind China, if Congress does not renew the federal Renewable Electricity Production Tax Creditswind-turbine.  This federal incentive has encouraged a quadrupling of wind energy capacity over the past few years.  Unfortunately, the tax credits expired at the end of 2008.  Extension of the federal tax credit would increase the projected growth in renewable generation.  I urge everyone to write to their Congressman and implore them to renew these tax credits to spur investment.


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