Renewable Energy
TechnologiesRenewable Energy

- What They Are: Renewable energy technologies help produce energy from resources that are generally not depleted by human use, such as the sun, wind, and water movement. These energy sources can be converted into heat, electricity and mechanical energy in several ways. Among the technologies that utilize these sources are solar energy, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydropower.

- What They Produce: Renewable technologies mainly produce energy in the form of electricity and heat. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, current U.S. energy consumption of renewable power breaks down as follows:

  Energy Source:   Energy Consumption in quadrillion Btus (1998)

Hydroelectric Power
Geothermal Energy
Solar Energy
Wind Energy

7.032 (about 7.5% of total U.S. consumption)

- Their Benefits: Renewable energy technologies provide a wide range of benefits to the world, including the following:

  • Environmental -- renewable technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies.
  • Resource conservation -- renewable technologies rely on ever-renewing resources and help to offset consumption of finite energy sources, such as coal, oil and uranium.
  • Economic -- investments to build and maintain renewable power generation largely go toward spending on materials and workmanship based in the U.S., rather than on costly energy imports. This investment helps create jobs and fuel local economies. In addition, U.S. companies that produce renewable energy technologies sell their goods and services overseas, which helps reduce the U.S. trade deficit.
  • Energy security -- renewable technologies help diversity America's base of energy supply and reduce our reliance on costly and sometimes unreliable foreign sources of energy. Such domestic energy production makes us a stronger and more secure nation.