According to a new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States used less energy last year, and more of it was green.
Using data provided by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the analysis found that the United States used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008, and significantly more wind power. There also was a decline in natural gas use and increases in solar, hydro and geothermal power.
Is this the beginning of a sustainability and emissions reduction trend?
A.J. Simon, an LLNL analyst who develops the energy flow charts commented that “Energy use tends to follow the level of economic activity, and that level declined last year. At the same time, higher efficiency appliances and vehicles reduced energy use even further. As a result, people and businesses are using less energy in general.”
Industrial energy use declined most dramatically, and fossil fuels still power the economy, so there is some gloomy news behind the trend. But as Simon also commented, “The increase in renewables is a really good story, especially in the wind arena. In 2009, the technology got better and the incentives remained relatively stable. The investments put in place for wind in previous years came online in 2009. Even better, there are more projects in the pipeline for 2010 and beyond.”
Perhaps underlying energy use is heading in the right direction. Stay tuned.