What Is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy comes from unlimited, naturally replenished resources, such as the sun, tides, and wind. Renewable energy can be used for electricity generation, space and water heating and cooling, and transportation.

Non-renewable energy, in contrast, comes from finite sources, such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

How Does Renewable Energy Work?

Renewable energy sources, such as biomass, the heat in the earth’s crust, sunlight, water, and wind, are natural resources that can be converted into several types of clean, usable energy:

Benefits of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy offers numerous economic, environmental, and social advantages. These include:

  • Reduced carbon emissions and air pollution from energy production
  • Enhanced reliability, security, and resilience of the power grid
  • Job creation through the increased production and manufacturing of renewable energy technologies
  • Increased U.S. energy independence
  • Lower energy costs
  • Expanded energy access for remote, coastal, or isolated communities.

Learn more about the advantages of wind energy, solar energy, bioenergy, geothermal energy, hydropower, and marine energy, and how the U.S. Department of Energy is working to modernize the power grid and increase renewable energy production.

Renewable Energy in the United States

Renewable energy generates over 20% of all U.S. electricity, and that percentage continues to grow. The following graphic breaks down the shares of total electricity production in 2022 among the types of renewable power: 

Renewable Energy Share of Total U.S. Electricity Production in 2022. 10.3% wind, 6.0% hydropower, 3.4% solar, 1.2% biomass, 0.4% geothermal.

In 2022, annual U.S. renewable energy generation surpassed coal for the first time in history. By 2025, domestic solar energy generation is expected to increase by 75%, and wind by 11%. 

The United States is a resource-rich country with enough renewable energy resources to generate more than 100 times the amount of electricity Americans use each year.  Learn more about renewable energy potential in the United States.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has three core divisions: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Transportation and Fuels, and Buildings and Industry. The Renewable Energy pillar comprises four technology offices:

A large seal showing the logos of the various EERE offices, with "Are You A Clean Energy Champion?" written across the middle of it on a ribbon

Every American can advocate for renewable energy by becoming a Clean Energy Champion. Both small and large actions make a difference. Join the movement.

Advancing Renewable Energy in the United States

EERE offers funding for renewable energy research and development, as well as programs that support the siting of renewable energy, connection of renewable energy to the grid, and community-led energy projects. Find open funding opportunities and learn how to apply for funding.

The U.S. Department of Energy's 17 national laboratories conduct research and help bring renewable energy technologies to market. 

Renewable Energy at Home

Homeowners and renters can use clean energy at home by buying green power, installing renewable energy systems to generate electricity, or using renewable resources for water and space heating and cooling.

Before installing a renewable energy system, it's important to reduce your energy consumption and improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Visit Energy Saver to learn more about the use of renewable energy at home.

You may be eligible for federal and state tax credits if you install a renewable energy system in your home. Visit ENERGY STAR to learn about federal renewable energy tax credits for homeowners. For information on state incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Other Ways EERE Champions Clean Energy


Find Clean Energy Jobs

EERE is dedicated to building a clean energy economy, which means millions of new jobs in construction, manufacturing, and many other industries. Learn more about job opportunities in renewable energy: