Science Energy 7 Amazing Facts About Renewable Energy By Karl Burkart Karl Burkart Writer Swarthmore College University of Oregon Karl Burkart is a writer, architect, digital strategist, and nonprofit executive focused on issues including climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, and sustainable agriculture. Learn about our editorial process Updated January 20, 2020 Wind power is on the rise. (Photo: J. Marijs/Shutterstock) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Energy Renewable Energy Fossil Fuels The Sustainable Energy Coalition is hosting a big energy expo in D.C. today, and they have assembled a nice collection of interesting factoids about renewable energy. Here are 7 facts about the renewable market you probably didn't know: . . . that renewable energy sources provided nearly 10% of both domestic energy production and U.S. electrical generation in 2008 with non-hydro renewable electricity expanding by 17.6% over the previous year; renewable energy will account for about a third of new electricity capacity added to the U.S. grid over the next three years. . . . . that U.S. wind power grew by 50% in 2008 and accounted for 42% of all new power generation in the United States last year; wind energy could supply at least 20% of U.S. electricity needs by 2030 while avoiding 7.6 cumulative gigatons of carbon dioxide. . . . . that grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) capacity increased 58% in 2008 and solar water heating capacity increased 40%; the PV industry today is 10 times larger than 1998 and likely to grow by 50% annually in the coming years; solar thermal plants covering an area equal to 9% of Nevada could generate enough electricity to power the nation; solar power is on the verge of reaching cost parity with conventional energy sources. . . . . that there may be more than 90,000 MW overall of untapped water potential in the United States; through new hydropower technologies, such as advanced turbines, and new applications, such as tidal, wave, ocean currents, and in-stream hydrokinetic approaches, the industry could double its output over the next 20 years. . . . . that six million Americans are using geothermal energy in their homes – three million receive electricity from geothermal power plants and another three million use geothermal heat pumps to heat & cool their homes; more than 100 new geothermal power projects now under development in 13 states will more than double the county’s geothermal capacity over the next five years. . . . . that total ethanol capacity expanded 34% and E85 stations exceeded 1,800 in 2008; the fuel now represents more than 7% of the nation’s gasoline supply and can be found in more than 70% of gasoline gallons sold in the U.S.; the 6.5 billion gallons of ethanol produced last year added $47.6 billion to the nation’s GDP; moreover, cellulosic ethanol requirements are projected to boom during the coming decade. . . . . that biomass is presently the largest U.S. renewable energy source with more than 200 existing biopower plants now providing electricity for 1.5 million American homes; manure-to-energy biogas projects are expanding and could power up to 3% of North America’s electricity needs.