"The United States faces important decisions about future energy supply and use. A key question is how renewable energy resources might be used to meet U.S. energy needs in general, and to meet U.S. electricity needs specifically. Renewable energy sources are typically used for three general types of applications: electricity generation, biofuels/bioproducts, and heating/cooling. Each application uses different technologies to convert renewable energy sources into usable products. The literature on renewable energy resources, conversion technologies for different applications, and economics is massive. This report focuses on electricity generation from renewable energy sources. In 2010, renewable sources of energy were used to produce almost 11% (7% from hydropower and 4% from other renewables) of the 4 million gigawatthours of electricity generated in the United States. This report provides a summary of U.S. electricity generation potential from wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, ocean-hydrokinetic, and biomass sources of renewable energy. The focus of this report is twofold: (1) provide an assessment of U.S. renewable electricity generation potential and how renewables might satisfy electric power sector demand, and (2) discuss challenges, issues, and barriers that might limit renewable electricity generation deployment."
CRS Report for Congress, R41954