Energy in the United States

Energy in the United States

----The United States is the largest energy consumer in terms of total use, using 100 quadrillion BTU (105 exajoules, or 29000 TWh) in 2005, equivalent to an (average) consumption rate of 3.3 TW. The U.S. ranks seventh in energy consumption per-capita after Canada and a number of small countries. [ [ World Per Capita Total Primary Energy Consumption,1980-2005] (MS Excel format)] [World Resources Institute " [ Energy Consumption: Consumption per capita] " (2001). Nations with higher per-capita consumption are: Qatar, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Luxembourg and Canada. Except for Canada, these are small countries with a prominent energy-intensive industry such as oil refining or steelmaking.] The majority of this energy is derived from fossil fuels: in 2005, it was estimated that 40% of the nation's energy came from petroleum, 23% from coal, and 23% from natural gas. The remaining 14% was supplied by nuclear power, hydroelectric dams, and miscellaneous renewable energy sources. [US Dept. of Energy, " [ Annual Energy Report] " (July 2006), Energy Flow diagram]


From its founding until the late 1800s, the United States was a largely agrarian country with abundant forests. During this period, energy consumption overwhelmingly focused on readily available firewood. Rapid industrialization of the economy, urbanization, and the growth of railroads led to increased use of coal, and by 1885 it had eclipsed wood as the nation's primary energy source. Coal remained dominant for the next 7 decades, but by 1950, it was surpassed in turn by both petroleum and natural gas. While coal consumption today is the highest it has ever been, it is now mostly used to generate electricity. Natural gas, which is cleaner-burning and more easily transportable, has replaced coal as the preferred source of heating in homes, businesses and industrial furnaces.

At the beginning of the 20th century, petroleum was a minor resource used to manufacture lubricants and fuel for kerosene and oil lamps. One hundred years later it had become the preeminent energy source for the U.S. and the rest of the world. This rise closely paralleled the emergence of the automobile as a major force in American culture and the economy. While petroleum is also used as a source for plastics and other chemicals, and powers various industrial processes, today two-thirds of oil consumption in the U.S. is in the form of its derived transportation fuels. [US Dept. of Energy, " [ Energy in the United States: 1635-2000] "]

Current consumption

The U.S. Department of Energy tracks national energy consumption in four broad sectors: industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial. The industrial sector has long been the country's largest energy user, currently representing about 33% of the total. Next in importance is the transportation sector, followed by the residential and commercial sectors.

[ US Department of Energy Administration 2006 National Energy Survey] ]

Energy consumption of computers in the USA anchor|Energy consumption of computers in the USA

Visible or embedded (i. e. hidden) computers are found everywhere: in all sectors listed in the above chapter,as well as in all subsectors listed in the column entitled Major uses in the above tables. In 1999, a study by Mark. P. Mills cite book | last = Mills | first = M.P. | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = The Internet Begins with Coal | publisher = Green Earth Society, USA | date = 1999 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ] of the Green Earth Society reported that computers consumed 13% of the entire US supply. Numerous researchers questioned Mills' methodology and it was later demonstrated that he was off by an order of magnitude; for example, Lawrence Berkeley Labs concluded that the figure was nearer three percent of US electricity use. Although The Mills' study was inaccurate [Allan Chen, " [ Research finds computer-related energy use to be overestimated] " (February 2001)] [Brian Hayes, " [ The computer and the dynamo] " (September 2001)] [ [ Information Technology and Resource Use] , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory] , it helped drive the debate to the national level, and in 2006 the US Senate started a study of the energy consumption of Server farms.


ee also

* Carter Doctrine
* The Climate Registry
* Efficient energy use
* Energy conservation
* Energy development
* Energy policy of the United States
* Energy security
* Peak oil
* Renewable energy in the United States

External links

* [ Energy Information Administration] - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government
* [ Energy Charts: Consumption, Oil Production & Imports]
* [ Biomass Energy Data Book]
* [ Buildings Energy Data Book]
* [ Power Technologies Energy Data Book]
* [ Transportation Energy Data Book]
* [ Interactive United States Energy Comparisons]
* [ Renewable Energy Tops 10% of U.S. Energy Production]

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