Energy =Life, That is, Life as We Enjoy it

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.

https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/mer.pdf

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.

Dick Storm Middle School Presentation on Energy & Electricity Generation, March 2022

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.

Sources: Dick Storm Middle School Energy Presentation, BP, ExxonMobil, World Bank, Our World in Data
Dick Storm Middle School Presentation on Energy & Electricity, March 2022

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.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Energy Flows, 2021: https://flowcharts.llnl.gov

Conclusions

Yours very truly,

Dick Storm, August 21, 2022

Excellent references for further research and information:

  1. Donn Dears, The Politics of Energy, Part 1: https://bit.ly/3J5OnTc 
  2. Donn Dears, The Politics of Energy, Part 2: :  https://bit.ly/3QuEuRs
  3. IEA Energy and Food Production: https://www.iea.org/commentaries/how-the-energy-crisis-is-exacerbating-the-food-crisis
  4. 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
  5. 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/
  6. International Energy Association, Energy Report, Exec. Summary 2021:  https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2021/executive-summary
  7. 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/
  8. NERC 2022 State of Reliability Report, July 6, 2022: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/PA/Performance%20Analysis%20DL/NERC_SOR_2022.pdf
  9. North American Electric Reliability Corporation December 2021 Report: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/NERC_LTRA_2021.pdf
  10. U.S. Grid Monitor, Real Time Bulk Power across U.S. : https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/US48/US48
  11. 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
  12. 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 
  13. China buying Russian oil, gas and coal, Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/asian-buyers-russian-oil-gas-coal-2022-02-22/
  14. 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/
  15. 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
  16. 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/
  17. POWER Mag, Article on HELE Plants 2018: https://www.powermag.com/could-high-efficiency-low-emissions-hele-technology-revive-u-s-coal-power/
  18. World Nuclear Assoc. Small Modular Reactors: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-power-reactors/small-nuclear-power-reactors.aspx
  19. 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
  20. 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:
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. The Modern World Can’t Exist Without These Four Ingredients,  They All Require Fossil Fuels, Vaclav Smil

https://time.com/6175734/reliance-on-fossil-fuels/

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