Growth of Biomass Far Outstrips Growth of Solar and Wind

Absolute Growth of Biomass in US 2X Higher than Wind and Solar


1. EU renewable energy statistics come from Eurostat.

2. US renewable energy statistics come from EIA.

3. EU statistics are in terms of final energy consumption, whereas US statistics are in terms of primary energy consumption. I explained the difference between these in a recent article. I use the units used by the official statistical bodies. In the US case it is the British Thermal Unit, which Americans continue to use in an ironic post-colonial fashion.

4. Estimates for European biofuel use from 1850-2000 are taken from Fernandez et al. 2007. These statistics are in tonnes of biomass, so are not directly comparable with the other measures.

5. US total energy consumption statistics are taken from EIA.

6. US corn acreage and corn use statistics are from USDA here and here, respectively. Once again we have units that are scientifically indefensible, but things are what they are.

7. German electricity production statistics can be found here. It's in German, but the German for biomass is biomasse.

8. Vaclav Smil's primer on power density is an excellent introduction to the spatial requirements of energy generation.

9. The inability of bioenergy to power industrial civilizations is explained in depth in E.A Wrigley's excellent book Energy and the English Industrial Revolution.