Alternative Energy Snapshot - Jan. 2009
This snapshot will focus on wind, which I am most familiar with and where most of the action is currently happening anyway.
From the Jan. 15 edition of Electric Power Monthly, a publication of the Department of Energy, came the preceding pie chart showing combined "alternative" energy sources at 3.2% of total power generation as of Oct. 2008 (latest available data).
The current goal for renewables is 20% wind energy by 2030, while the Obama-Biden New Energy for America Plan calls for 10% of our electricity coming from (all) renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.
It is important to note that the Obama-Biden plan says "renewables", because that includes hydropower and the pie chart shows that current hydropower is at 6.5% of current generation. That's not good. Adding 6.5% and 3.2% means we are already at 9.7% renewable power generation, so we have already met the Obama goal for 2012! Talk about lowering the bar..... I found a great take-apart of the 2030 plan at this really cool blog that you should read.
So some good news:
"U.S. becomes "Number One" in wind: During the summer of 2008, the U.S. wind industry launched past the 20,000-megawatt installed capacity milestone, achieving in two years what had previously taken two decades (the 10,000-MW mark was reached in 2006). Also this summer, the U.S. passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation. By the end of September, the U.S. had over 21,000 MW of wind capacity up and running. With additional projects coming on line every week since, the wind industry is on its way to charting another record-shattering year of growth. That 21,000 MW of capacity will generate over 60 billion kWh of electricity in 2009, enough to serve over 5.5 million American homes and eliminating the burning of
30.4 million short tons of coal (enough to fill two 1,000-mile-long coal trains),
91 million barrels of oil per year, or
560 Bcf of natural gas (about 9% of the natural gas used for electricity generation). "
More blogs and sites to read if you are interested in this topic: