Until the mid-1800s, wood was the source of nearly all of the nation's energy needs for heating, cooking, and lighting. Today, fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas—have been the major sources of energy. Hydropower and solid biomass were the most used renewable energy resources until the 1990s. Since then, the shares of U.S. energy consumption from biofuels, solar, and wind energy have increased.
Renewable energy plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using renewable energy can reduce the use of fossil fuels, which are major sources of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The consumption of biofuels and other non-hydroelectric renewable energy sources in the United States more than doubled from 2000 to 2018, mainly because of state and federal government requirements and incentives to use renewable energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that U.S. renewable energy consumption will continue to increase through 2050.
The major types of renewable energy sources are