Renewable Energy

Americans using most renewable energy since 1930s

Solar farm and wind turbines near Palm Springs, CA.
Connie J. Spinardi | Getty Images

The last time Americans used as much renewable energy as they do now was in the 1930s, when the burning of wood was more widespread. (Tweet this)

That's according to recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, released on Thursday. The study found that renewable energy accounted for 9.8 percent of the total domestic energy consumption in 2014. That is the highest percentage since the 1930s.

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The use of renewable energy—from the sun, hydro-power, wind and the like—has been growing consistently since 2001, at an average of 5 percent per year. Most of the increase has come from the growing use of wind, solar, and biofuels. Hydroelectricity contributed the most to total renewable energy use in 2014, but its share of the total has declined since the 1990s.

Wood came in second among renewables in 2014, mostly due to a high demand for wood pellets. Solar systems were the main contributors to rising renewable energy in residential homes.

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Last year, a little more than half of all renewable energy was used to generate electricity. The industrial sector used about 24 percent of the nation's renewable energy, while the transportation sector came in at 13 percent.