On Renewable Fuels, the Public is Ahead of the Beltway - Page 2
Old-fashioned economics seems to be the motivator for some of these changes. Just about all of the wind, solar, hydro, and biomass-generated power in the U.S. goes for electricity, which in turn is used to heat homes, businesses, and power industries. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — the source of the data used by the Livermore Lab — in 2009, the cost of electricity increased in 2009 by $0.29 per kilowatt hour to $11.55, a 2.6 percent increase. All of the other energy sources based on fossil fuels — gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and heating oil — dropped in price substantially from 2008 to 2009.
But there may be more than dollars-and-cents at work. While the overall amount of biomass-generated power stayed the same from 2008 to 2009, the amount of biomass for transportation — ethanol in nearly all cases — increased to 0.92 quads in 2009, a gain of 10.8 percent over 2008. This double-digit percentage increase happened in spite of respective 27.9 and 35.3 percent decreases in gasoline and diesel fuel prices in 2009.