The industrial sector makes up 98 percent of the total renewable energy use, with wood, biofuels and waste making up the remaining seven percent. States are taking different paths to adopt renewable energy. Some have adopted a number of policies that encourage the development of renewable energy technologies, such as investment tax credits (ITCs) and accelerated depreciation.
However, the transition to sustainable energy sources is not an easy one, and not every sustainable solution is appropriate in every location. Climate and location are key factors in the energy efficiency of renewable sources, and how they are distributed is critical to their long-term success. For example, wind farms work best in regions with consistent weather conditions.
Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sources of renewable electricity. The United States has 122.5 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity and Texas alone provides nearly half of the country’s wind power. By 2020, wind energy will make up eight percent of the country’s electricity needs. Hydropower is the second-largest renewable energy resource in the U.S., but the amount of each source varies significantly.
Biomass is an important renewable energy source that is primarily used for cooking and lighting. Biomass is composed of recently-lived plants and animals, which can be harvested and turned into energy. Biomass is also used for making biofuels by harnessing methane gas produced from natural decomposition of organic materials. During the growing process, biomass absorbs carbon dioxide, which is required for the growth of new plants. Unfortunately, biomass utilization is not widespread.