Although major US energy companies are becoming involved in renewable energy, green power is unlikely to become a substantial part of their production in the near future, says a new report from the US Department of Energy. The report looks at the performance of the 28 energy giants that are part of the Energy Information Administration's Financial Reporting System (FRS). Together they account for nearly half of US oil production, 45% of natural gas production, and 84% of US refining capacity. "The FRS companies producing renewable energy may be involved in these energy sources in part to keep up with potential advances in energy production technologies and perhaps also to enhance their environmental image," the report says. "However, there is no indication that renewable energy will constitute a substantial portion of the energy produced by FRS companies in the near future." The report confines its discussion to wind, geothermal and solar energy technologies and finds that of the three, only wind energy production grew from 1998-2002, increasing 242% from 0.031 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btus) to 0.106 quadrillion Btus. Technological innovations, improving performance and cost, and the now-expired federal production tax credit for wind power production were key factors, the report says. Despite wind's growth, there is not a big presence by FRS companies in the industry. Shell is the only one of the 28 listed which is singled out for its modest wind energy program. A former FRS company, Enron, was active in wind power before its financial meltdown.
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