Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Electricity Generation

This site shows electricity sources in America. Money section is this one....

48.6 percent of our nation's electricity was generated from coal. Nuclear energy produced 19.4 percent. Natural gas supplied 21.5 percent. Hydropower provided 5.8 percent of the supply. Fuel oil provided 1.6 percent of the generation mix. Other renewable resources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind, provided 2.5 percent, with other miscellaneous sources providing the balance.

We know if McCain is elected, the nuclear energy portion will see plenty of government assistance. We know if Obama is elected, the enviros will demand that the feds subsidize massive solar and wind farms. Because numbers are in Giga watt hours, I'm talking about massive solar thermal and PV plants, not putting little PV panels on suburban rooftops. If we could build up nuclear, wind and solar just 5% each in the next 10 years, it would seriously alter the electricity mix. It could free up nat gas for other use whether as a liquid fuel or industrial uses, either way, it would help with the coming supposed peak to nat gas production.

I would prefer to see it displace coal usage. I know coal is here to stay for my lifetime, but we can start to reduce coal's role in America. The USA could export even more coal to the rest of the world (+40% rise in exports this Q1), helping our trade deficit. Combined with an electrification of our transportation network, reducing our total oil usage, and we'd be moving towards a more balanced trade position (our oil import bill & one way China trade make up most of our trade deficit). Talk of electrification of the transportation network brings up increased electricity demands. It is not as scary as it sounds, read here. What it ultimately takes is leadership, government and corporate, willing to think long term and possibly risk short term 'victories' and more importantly, research by the brilliant engineers and scientists of the world.

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