July 21, 2009

U.S. energy use dropped in 2008

U.S. residents used less coal and petroleum last year than they did in 2007, California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said.

As for renewable energy, U.S. residents used somewhat more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy during the same time period, the laboratory said in a release Monday.

This is a good snapshot of what's going on in the country, Livermore analyst A.J. Simon said.

U.S. energy use in 2008 was estimated at 99.2 quadrillion BTUs, down from 101.5 quadrillion BTUs in 2007. A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measurement for energy.

The drop in petroleum and coal use was attributed to a hike in prices, while the increase in wind energy was attributed to large investments in turbine technologies and more efficient use of existing turbines, Simon said.

The increase in nuclear energy was attributed to existing plants spending more time in operation, he said. You can't earn revenue by selling electricity when you're down, Simon said.