Figure The Role of Renewable Energy Consumption in the US Energy Supply

Source: Energy Information Administration, a unit of the U.S. Department of Energy.

completeness, timeliness, and quality of the data. However, the data on capacity included here help to illustrate some of the key trends in renewable energy. Renewable fuel use is growing because of government support and increasing private sector investment. Global investment in renewable energy hit a record $30 billion in 2004, accounting for 20 to 25 percent of all investment in the power industry, with solar power the fastest-growing energy technology, according to the nonprofit group, Worldwatch Institute. Technologies such as wind, solar, biofuel, and geothermal now provide up to 6 percent of the world's total energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That's still very small, but it's a step in the right direction. On the frontlines of the alternative energy industry, business has been brisk lately. See Figure 3.1.

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