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U.S. Usage (2008):
Petroleum products (including crude oil & Natural Gas) 7.1 trillion barrels per year
Electrical 4.1 TW•h / year
TW•h - Terawatt Hours = 1 Trillion Watt hours
Petroleum usage: Oil/gas 89%; Natural Gas & Liquefied refinery gases (LRG) 11%
Ethanol and biodiesel usage: 229 million barrels - 3%
Electricity: 23% is from Petroleum products, so there is double counting in the above.
  48% of electricity is from coal, 20% is nuclear and 9.3% is from renewables.
  (6.2% Hydroelectric; 1.3% Wind; 1.3% Biomass; 0.4% Geothermal; < 0.1% Solar)
Electric Power Summary Statistics at DOE Energy Information Administration (EIA) Electric Power Industry 2008: Year in Review

See Energy Stats
Sierra Club - Renewable Energy

  • Wind: The Department of Energy has stated that we can get 20 percent of our power from wind energy alone by 2030.
    See:
    Wind Energy
    DOE, Sierra Club
    At the end of 2009 Europe was the leader in wind power. Denmark (over 19% of electricity is generated by wind), Spain and Portugal (values over 11%), Germany and the Republic of Ireland (values over 6%).
    The U.S. has the highest total capacity, but it still only represents 1.9% of electrical generationf.
  • Solar: The solar PV industry aiming to provide half of all new U.S. electricity generation by 2025.
    See: DOE, Sierra Club
  • Water: Hydroelectric Generation
    See: DOE
  • Geothermal: The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that geothermal power plants can provide 15,000 MWs of new capacity within the next decade.
    See: DOE, Sierra Club
  • Biomass: Methane can be produced/captured from animal manure, wastewater, landfill gas, food crops, grassy and woody plants, municipal and industrial wastes.
    Biomass is the only renewable which can be turned on or off at will (doesn't require wind or sunlight), and is the only one which can provide electricity, heat and fuel.
    See: DOE, Sierra Club
  • Hydrogen and fuel cells: See: DOE
  • Others: Wave Power

Biomass: Biomass: Energy (Methane, Ethanol, ..) can be pro Biomass that is high in moisture content, such as animal manure and food-processing wastes, is suitable for producing biogas using anaerobic digester technology. Symbiotic groups of bacteria break down complex organic wastes in a series of steps resulting in biogas, a mixture of gases, with methane and carbon dioxide making up more than 90 percent of the total. Other sources include food crops, grassy and woody plants, residues from agriculture or forestry, and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes. Similar processes occur naturally underground in landfills. "landfill gas," is typically 50% methane, 45% carbon dioxide and 5% other gases. It is captured by a series of wells drilled into the landfill.

Cellulosic Ethanol can be created from wood and grasses as described in the science section.

See: Biogas Technology at oregon.gov
Biomass Energy Basics

Water:

  • Impoundment (dams)
  • Diversion (channels a portion of a river through a canal or penstock without a dam)
  • Pumped storage (When the demand for electricity is low, a pumped storage facility stores energy by pumping water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. During periods of high electrical demand, the water is released back to the lower reservoir to generate electricity).

Deregulation allos you to select an alternative energy provider to generate your electricity while you same local utility delivers it.
There are several providers which supply green energy.
See Green Power Network: Can I Buy Green Power in My State? | eere.energy.gov
In 2012 Viridian purchased 2 million megawatt-hrs (MWh)

53% Wind
33% Biomass
 6% Hydro
 3.5% Blast Furnace Gas
 2.2% Natural Gas
 1.0% Solar
Books:
Energy Switch: Proven Solutions for a Renewable Future, by Craig Morris, 2006

Links:
DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Viridian | Green electricity
Sierra Club - Renewable Energy
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: Fact and Fiction by Sunil Somalwar


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last updated 26 Mar 2010