A Graphic Illustration for Why the United States Needs a Long Term Energy Plan

U.S. Energy Consumption and Waste

Click on graphic to enlarge or - - - Source:https://flowcharts.llnl.gov/energy.html

This is a fairly sobering graphic on our national energy situation. Of particular note:

1)   Rejected energy (thermal loss, energy inefficiencies, vehicles, spinning back up electric plants etc.) is more than ½ the total energy produced – 58%. Hard to fathom how we have come to this amount of energy waste.

2)   Transportation is the by far the largest problem – centered on our old friend oil – with over 40% of all energy on the chart consumed by moving big hulks of steel around on roads. Talk about inefficient, diving down into the detail reveals that transportation wastes 75% of the energy used – the highest of any sector on the chart.

3)   On a positive note, while renewable energy generation is tiny fraction of the electricity generation, the share of solar and wind is up from 0.09 to 0.11 quads and 0.51 to 0.70 quads, respectively and geothermal increased from 0.35 to 0.37 quads. (one quad = 36 million tonnes of coal generation.)

4)   Solar energy, wind, hydro and geothermal generation is about 60% of the total amount of nuclear generation.

5)   Energy use from 2008 – 2009 actually decreased a little over 1% due to the recession.

While the increase in renewable energy generation is a welcome development, this chart demonstrates that the enormous effort to displace oil and coal will require massive investment and brave leadership on Capitol Hill.

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