On a pro-rated basis, each American uses about 300 million Btus per year of primary energy. This has been steady for decades. 79% of the energy we depend on each day is from fossil fuels and another 8% from nuclear, thus if we include nuclear as conventional, then 87% of the energy we depend on is from Conventional fuels.
300 million Btu/year/Person
I have written before about the energy use per person for U.S. citizens being between 300 and 330 million Btus per year. The latest EIA Monthly Energy Report shows 293 million Btus per capita. I rounded up to 300 million Btus /Capita/year. When the recession is over, we will again exceed 300.
Most of this energy which we depend on for everything we do, is provided by conventional energy. The latest pie chart of primary energy sources from the EIA is shown below.
Many government officials contend that the best path to energy independence is through the use of renewable energy and in particular, they specify wind and solar. As has been reported before, wind and solar after many years of subsidies have produced less than 5% of America’s total primary energy. All energy use considered the per Capita use comes out to about 300 million Btus per person, per year. This is about 822,000 Btu’s per day, per person. Last spring I gave a presentation to our local Hilton Head Island Middle School students. One example I showed was how each of us in the room could use 822,000 Btu’s each day. I prepared the graphic below, which I attempted to make understandable for 8th Graders. Perhaps it is simple and easy to understand that even a Washington bureaucrat could understand? The folks making energy policy in Washington, in my opinion, do not understand how important conventional energy is to our way of life? Here below is my attempt to explain how using a million Btus/day is very reasonable for the average citizen.
For those of us middle class folks that have lived the American Dream to enjoy a very comfortable life, it is not hard to imagine using a million Btus each day with the various forms of energy depicted above. Energy used on our behalf goes beyond what we personally use. The pro-rated energy use per Capita (as recorded by the DOE) includes Industrial manufacturing, Military Defense, government, commercial, fertilizer production, food production and shipping transportation uses. Energy does in fact provide for our high quality of life. Perhaps it would be helpful to compare our energy use to the people of other countries. Here below is such a comparison.
Flows of Total U.S. Primary Energy
For anyone who has seen my posts before you will know that I am very enamored with the simple yet clear illustration of U.S. Energy Sources and flows provided by the Department of Energy’s LLNL. This chart shows all major sources of energy which includes renewables and illustrates the quantities of each produced and used by the thickness of the flow lines.
- Energy Policymakers do not understand the importance of energy to sustain our quality of life
- Energy is important for all that we do
- The Bulk Power Generation Supply should be kept maintained (before shutting down existing coal or nuclear plants) and in first class condition to ensure a Balanced Generation Portfolio with fuel diversity.
- Renewable energy from solar and wind cannot replace the total primary energy provided from conventional sources. An example is Hawaii which is not connected to the U.S. Grid, but adopted Green Policies much like the Green New Deal, thus Hawaii has the highest cost electricity of any state in our nation. See LLNL chart above. Solar and Wind together after decades of tax subsidies for incentives can only achieve 4.96% in 2021
- If Decarbonization is really needed, then the only path forward to provide sufficient Bulk Power is to expand the nuclear fleet.
- American Energy Policy is created by Green Extremists, not by engineers experienced in producing, distributing and maintaining reliable energy and electricity supplies.
- If decarbonization of our energy supplies is to be done, it should be accomplished with a comprehensive approach to replace existing generation with Dispatchable electric generation plus, a comprehenisive approach to deploy Hydrogen for hydrogen fueled vehicles. Not a path tearing down what we depend on before replacing with reliable, affordable and Dispatchable replacement generation.
- The trend toward Decarbonization of the Free Western World is not limited to the U.S. The UK, Germany, France, Italy and most of Europe is signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement. The only beneficiaries of the Paris Climate Policy are China and Russia.
- The Paris Agreement and Decarbonization of the U.S. will weaken the U.S.A. A Rational, pro-active Conventional Energy Policy is needed for the U.S. Not simply a Decarbonization policy.
- The Paris Agreement will harm the people of Developing countries by slowing their economic growth and making food more scarce due to increased costs of producing fertilizer.(3)
- China remains the “World’s Manufacturer” powered by coal and Russia remains the “World’s Gas Station” See page 37 of BP Statistical Review(15)
Yours very truly,
Dick Storm, August 21, 2022
Excellent references for further research and information:
- Donn Dears, The Politics of Energy, Part 1: https://bit.ly/3J5OnTc
- Donn Dears, The Politics of Energy, Part 2: : https://bit.ly/3QuEuRs
- IEA Energy and Food Production: https://www.iea.org/commentaries/how-the-energy-crisis-is-exacerbating-the-food-crisis
- Russia overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s largest oil supplier, June 20, 2022 Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-20/china-buys-7-5-billion-of-russian-energy-with-oil-at-record
- China-Russian Energy Deal, February 2022: https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/russia-china-may-sign-energy-other-deals-amid-moscow-tension-with-west-2022-02-03/
- International Energy Association, Energy Report, Exec. Summary 2021: https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2021/executive-summary
- NERC Warning of Blackout Risk: https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/north-american-electric-reliability-corp-warns-of-increased-risk-of-grid-blackouts-this-summer/
- NERC 2022 State of Reliability Report, July 6, 2022: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/PA/Performance%20Analysis%20DL/NERC_SOR_2022.pdf
- North American Electric Reliability Corporation December 2021 Report: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/NERC_LTRA_2021.pdf
- U.S. Grid Monitor, Real Time Bulk Power across U.S. : https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/US48/US48
- WSJ June 18, 2022, West Risks Blackouts From Drought and loss of Hydroelectric Capacity: https://www.wsj.com/articles/west-risks-blackouts-as-hydroelectric-power-dries-up-11624008601?mod=article_inline
- Reuters, China Buying Russian Fuel: The Guardian (UK) China’s Premier Calls For More Coal Plants, June 24, 2022: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/24/chinese-premier-calls-for-more-coal-production-as-electricity-demand-soars
- China buying Russian oil, gas and coal, Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/asian-buyers-russian-oil-gas-coal-2022-02-22/
- China Coal Consumption is higher than all the rest of the world together, NS Energy Feb. 2020: https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/electricity-consuming-countries/
- BP Statistical Review 2021 (Report released July 2022): https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2022-full-report.pdf
- The United Nations and Policies of Decarbonization are a higher priority than Feeding the World’s poor and World Peace: https://dickstormprobizblog.org/2022/04/05/energy-world-peace/
- POWER Mag, Article on HELE Plants 2018: https://www.powermag.com/could-high-efficiency-low-emissions-hele-technology-revive-u-s-coal-power/
- World Nuclear Assoc. Small Modular Reactors: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx
- Liberty Energy, Bettering Human Lives, ESG Report 2022: https://www.libertyenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Bettering-Human-Lives-Liberty-Energy-ESG-Report-2021-Spreads-Web-2.pdf
- World Coal Assoc. : https://www.worldcoal.org/clean-coal-technologies/clean-coal-2/ The next four articles are from Dr. George Holliday and son Bill Holliday’s Environmental Newsletter August 21, 2022:
- Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies Bjorn Lomborg August 2022: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162520304157?fbclid=IwAR1dowZRH8xZ8MRC_G7S1iw2diUkcsI2LCoqry2q-CP-BZqLPHHFnqMJKy
- Continental Resources Chairman and founder Harold Hamm detailed on Monday (Mayc2022) what he believes is behind the record prices Americans are facing at the pump, arguing that the Biden administration’s “failed policies on energy are not working. https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6306265270112#sp=show-clips
- Heating the Oceans: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)An issue with addressing how the earth cools is the mental concept of time. According to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, the earth is continuously emitting infrared energy depending on temperature. Some atmospheric gases, greenhouse gases, continuously interfere with the release of this energy to space in specific wavenumbers (number of wavelengths per centimeter, sometimes called frequency). In clear skies near the surface, most of the gases are well mixed except for water vapor, which varies significantly by region. : http://sepp.org/twtwfiles/2022/TWTW%208-6-2022.pdf
- The Modern World Can’t Exist Without These Four Ingredients, They All Require Fossil Fuels, Vaclav Smil