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How much of U.S. electricity comes from the renewable energy sources?

Renewable energy sources, despite the recent popularity, are still far away from being the dominant option in satisfying U.S. electricity demand. According to the latest data, renewable energy sources such as wind power and hydropower satisfied around 11% of U.S. electricity demand at the end of 2010.

Hydropower leads the way, satisfying around 6,8% of U.S. total electricity demand. This is not bad number but it is still far off from coal, which is the dominant source of electricity in United States accounting to around 49% of total U.S. electricity use.

Coal is still the most popular source of electricity because of its cheap price tag. Renewable energy sources still cost more compared to coal (and natural gas) and they will have to improve their cost-competitiveness in years to come if they want to contribute to larger share of electricity generated in United States. It also has to be said that in the last 40 years the use of coal to generate electricity has nearly tripled in United States because of the rapidly growing electricity demand.

Even currently not so popular nuclear energy provides almost twice as much electricity compared to renewable energy sources, accounting for around 20% of U.S. electricity.

The share of electricity coming from wind power and solar power is constantly increasing, and many energy experts lot from these two renewable energy sectors, especially from solar energy sector. Given the current trend solar power could account for around 4% of U.S. electricity by 2020.

At the end I will also mention few more interesting facts about the U.S. electricity needs.

For instance if we look at the 2008 data we can see that Tennessee had the highest annual consumption at 15,624 kWh while Maine had the lowest at 6,252 kWh. Texas is the nation's largest electricity consumer followed by California and Florida. In 2008 Texas consumed 347,050 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The electricity in United States is used for different purposes such as:

Around 17% of generated electricity in U.S. is used for cooling and ventilation.

Around 13,5% of total U.S. electricity consumption goes to lightning.

Around 3% of total U.S. electricity consumption goes to powering computers.

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