Managing Editor of Energy Tribune
Robert Bryce wrote an Op Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal
discussing the problem of scale with current alternative energy
technology and how natural gas could play an important role for backup
Bryce says the Energy Information Administration
reports total wind and solar power generation in 2008 equaled
45,493,000 megawatt-hours. In comparison, total U.S. energy consumption
in 2008 grew to 4,118,198,000 megawatt-hours.
That means, renewable resources – wind and solar – produced roughly 1.1%
of all U.S. energy needs. To put this in perspective, Bryce equates
power generation from these renewables into terms of barrels of oil.
Energy Production & Use
- Wind & solar in 2008 produced 1.1% of all U.S. energy needs
- 76,000 bpd* = Solar & wind power generation
- 47.7 million bpd = U.S. primary energy use
*Barrels per day
With all current solar and wind power generation, we would still require
47,624,000 barrels of oil per day to power the U.S. at current
consumption rates. Doubling, tripling or even quadrupling our solar and
wind generation still leaves a massive energy gap.
So while continued emphasis is placed on increasing our renewable
infrastructure, there will always be a fundamental need for energy
production from oil and natural gas.
We must be able to produce base-load energy whenever renewable power
generation isn’t possible. For example, during days in which there is
heavy cloud cover, or the wind is not blowing, we’ll still need energy.
Natural gas can produce that energy right now.
Currently, natural gas is used as a primary energy source (providing 25%
of U.S. energy needs) and is poised to be the reliable partner fuel
we’ll need as we continue to expand our energy mix.
As Bryce says, “the problem of scale means hydrocarbons just won’t go
away.” Natural gas is a clean solution to help us bridge the energy gap.
Read the full Op Ed here
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