Energy supply and consumption in today’s US economy continue to be significantly controlled by the fossil fuel sectors and define the carbon economy. An understanding of the abundance of natural resources in terms of proven and probable reserves is important in assessing when the carbon economy will be forced to transform. This sheds light on why it is important to accelerate the already in progress early stages of this transformation to a clean energy economy. For example, studies have shown an overestimation in shale oil and natural gas reserves. This combined with water requirements again illustrates the urgency in accelerating this transition. The US energy demand and production are reviewed, illustrating the long-term trend in reducing the use of coal, the increasing consumption of natural gas, and the slow rise in renewable energy sources. Energy is linked to everything, including food, water, and the nation’s GDP.
The supply of any energy commodity depends on several factors, including cost to produce. In the case of conventional energy resources, this depends upon geologic factors that resulted in high enough concentrations of useful materials (e.g., petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium minerals) to be extracted at economically reasonable cost. In the case of renewables (e.g., wind and solar power), it may depend on both natural factors such as average wind speed or days of direct sunlight but also technological factors such as photovoltaic science or wind machine construction methods. It also includes subsidiary considerations such as energy storage technology, including battery development. The long history of resource development and use, and especially fossil fuels, has given rise to highly detailed treatments of methods of describing actual and potentially available supplies of extractable materials.
KeywordsCO2 GDP Supply Sustainable Energy policy Transportation Efficiency Climate Solar Coal Petroleum Natural gas Uranium Thorium Nuclear Carbon Consumption Depletion. Emissions Peak oil Renewable Cogeneration Resources Reserves Price Depletion. Hydrofracturing/fracking Shale Electricity
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