Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Many Eyes on Energy in the USA

Looking at energy consumption in the USA, by type, in 2005 from the DOE data set, which I created in Many Eyes

Types of Energy Use by State 2005 Many EyesIf you click on "all maps" button for the map chart, some interesting comparisons emerge. Very clearly, the eastern US is heavily reliant on older fuels, such as coal, burning wood, oil heating, etc. as opposed to the western US which has the cleaner fuel development. In all scenarios, California and Texas stand out as huge consumers of energy of all kinds. That's why California's leadership in renewable energy and solar development is so important: SCE's solar-roof program along with LADWP and others will quickly provide a means of shifting new power into existing power supply infrastructure without building massive new generating plants. Not only that, the burden of purchase and maintenance of these "virtual power stations" falls on a huge consumer base.

What's interesting here is the bottom line on distributed power (hub structure, not linear transmission - far more efficient from the standpoint of power drop, etc. but requires dynamic management of power loads). Apparently the new State energy regs are having an effect, as well as the transmission grid bottleneck and the lack of permissions to pursue coal-fired plant development in Arizona...CO2 technology to capture carbon is too new yet.

The coal industry is on the defense, of course, and is mounting its strategy and public campaign here on America's Power. Much of our electrical power comes from burning coal, one of the most cheap and abundant processes, but also the dirtiest and most inefficient.

Further information on energy consumption can be found on the Energy Information Administration website.