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EIA expects long-term growth in renewables

Feb. 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Use of renewable energy in the United States depends on local efforts though the U.S. government said it expected growth as the technology becomes competitive.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said, not counting hydropower, as much as 9 percent of the electricity generated in the country would come from renewable sources by 2035, a 5 percentage point increase from 2010 levels.

Electricity generated from wind is expected to double by 2035, though the EIA said growth would start to slow once some tax credits expire by the end of the year.

Biomass is expected to increase by a factor of four because of federal requirements and co-firing of biomass with coal.

In terms of geothermal energy, the EIA said it expected "robust" growth but added that would only make up a "small portion" of electricity generation.

Solar power was expected to increase nearly seven-fold by 2035, though some tax credits expire by then.

"Near-term growth in many renewable technology types is largely used to satisfy state-level renewable portfolio standards requirements," the EIA said. "However, over the long term, renewable technologies may continue to be built as they become increasingly competitive with other electricity generation options."

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