US Energy Use Down 4.5% in 2009, Renewables Up

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.

Flickr / CC license. Some rights reserved by Francisco Diez

93 comments

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Jim S.
Jim S.5 years ago

This is yet another data point in the continued bind that progressives have yet to break - separating human well-being from the consumption of resources, and the conflation of human well-being with economic output. Does anyone doubt that 99% of elected Democrats want to ramp up the economy, despite the undeniable dagger that it will drive deeper into our future climate systems?

Until we confront commercialism, materialism, and trickle-down provision of income head-on, we'll continue this cycle of high growth/high environmental disaster and low-growth/temporary environmental respite.

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

It's good to hear about the drop in energy use. This planet can use the brake.

Barb F.
Barb F.6 years ago

positive news

Miroslav B.
Miroslav B.6 years ago

And btw we are in global depression, of course the energy use is down...

Miroslav B.
Miroslav B.6 years ago

Mr Douglas, nobody is denying "climate change" (this thing happens naturally) what people deny, and rightly so, is that human CO2 has anything to do with it