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Renewables provide 11.14% of US energy

Todd Wallace's picture
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  • Oct 5, 2010
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The US Energy Information Administration reports that renewable energy sources provided 11.14% of the nation’s electricity from January to June of 2010.

Renewable energy sources provided 4.106 quadrillion Btus between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010 – an increase of 4.91% over the first half of 2009 and an increase of 8.37% over the first half of 2008. The largest single renewable energy source was biomass (including biofuels) which accounted for 50.66% of renewable energy production, followed by hydropower at 32.56%. Wind, geothermal, and solar sources provided 10.91%, 4.53%, and 1.32% of the total renewable energy output respectively.

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Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 5, 2010
Year Fossil Fuels Nuclear Electric Power Hydro- electric Pumped Storage 5 Renewable Energy Other 10 Total
Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 5, 2010

I prefer to do my own Math: I used a spreadheet to calculte percentages myself

Please see the Source Here:   http://www.eia.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0201f.html

Or try the pdf here:     http://www.eia.gov/emeu/aer/pdf/pages/sec2_11.pdf

It does look as though Hydro electricity produced 6.61 percent of the total 10.03 percent produced by renewables.

Hydro =272.1    Total renewables =413.2    (6.61%)

Renewables =413.2    Combine Electrical output all sources =3953.1   (10.03%),

not 11.1 percent as claimed, Just to clarify the picture.

 

Please feel free to do your own math.

 

Bill Hannahan's picture
Bill Hannahan on Oct 6, 2010

They forgot to add nuclear power. The sun will run out of fuel before earth runs out of uranium and thorium. Nuclear is more renewable than wind, solar or hydro.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 6, 2010

Well, It is interesting to note that the Govt. Website shows Nuclear power producing 19.39% of US electricity generation in 2009.

 

Coal……………………………42.83 %

Natural Gas…………………..22.34%

Nuclear ………………………19.39%

Hydro Electricity……………..6.61 %

Biomas…………………………1.32 %

Geothermal ……………………0.37%

Solar…………………………….0.02%

Wind…………………………….1.72%

 

When renewables  are added up, they come to about 10.03% not 11.14

Remove Hydroelectric power (The Dams that Environmentalists Hate), Renewables produced only 3.42%

 

Osha Davidson's picture
Osha Davidson on Oct 6, 2010

The EIA data tables dramatically short-change solar. The solar totals include only arrays over  a certain size (I believe it was 2 MW but that might be off). In any event, the EIA tables don’t include power generated by approximately 99% of all home rooftop systems in the US. Also, the tables provide no information for off-the-grid systems. Finally, I’d have to double check to be sure, but I believe solar water heaters are excluded from the solar column — even though my rooftop solar thermal panel takes a big bite out of our electrical bill.

We desparately need better, more complete data, if we are to make meaningful cost comparison between energy sources.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 6, 2010

Osha,

You are correct that Solar Heating was not included, since the table I quoted was for electrical power (Grid?) only.

The problem with including Heat in the figures is that it would provide a rather lop-sided advantage to Nuclear Power over all the other sources with the possible exception of Coal, I think.

Osha Davidson's picture
Osha Davidson on Oct 6, 2010

Sorry, Paul, I don’t follow you. A large share of the electricity generated by nuclear power is used by hot water heaters and is included in the chart. Or are you refering to the heat generated by reactors to generate electricity in the first place? If so, wouldn’t that be counting the energy twice — once as heat and then as electricity used to heat water? My point about solar thermal water heaters is that NOT including them minimizes our overall use of solar power, power that would otherwise have come from coal, natural gas, nuclear, etc.

My point is that our technological advances (in this case, solar) have outstriped our data collection methods. The EIA needs to catch up with real world energy usage. The fact that virtually no rooftop solar collectors are included in the government energy stats shows that the EIA is due for an upgrade.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 7, 2010

Got it. I need to revisit the tables for another look.

I was  referring to Waste heat that being dumped into the environment that could have been used for desalination and such. Since such heat doesn’t actually factor in the generation of electricity according to the Carnot cycle.

Osha Davidson's picture
Osha Davidson on Oct 7, 2010

Is cogeneration not economically practical for nuclear (or coal for that matter)? Hundreds of billions of fish are killed annually in US rivers by discharged warm water from coal and nuclear power plants. Seems like this could be an opportunity to save two birds wtih a single stone.

Bill Hannahan's picture
Bill Hannahan on Oct 7, 2010

 Hundreds of billions of fish are killed annually in US rivers by discharged warm water from coal and nuclear power plants  

Reference please? And what would happen to those fish if they survived? Were the rivers packed solid with fish before nuclear power, or before humans came?

Take a google satellite trip down the Ohio river and you will see nuclear and fossil plants with cooling towers built to avoid this problem. It is an option with any new plant.

Solar thermal plants operate at lower thermodynamic efficiency than nuclear plants and therefore produce more waste heat per kWh than nuclear and fossil plants. They require more cooling water per kWh than nuclear plants which is more problematic in the desert where they would most likely be built. For the same reason, dry cooling towers are more expensive and have a larger efficiency penalty for solar thermal plants than for nuclear.

Plant condensers are operated at the lowest possible temperature to obtain the lowest possible exhaust pressure on the steam turbine in order to achieve the highest possible thermodynamic efficiency.

Extracting heat for desalination or other commercial application requiring higher temperature steam, results in higher turbine exhaust pressure and reduced electrical generation efficiency. If the economics can accommodate the loss of efficiency and added complexity, it can be done, but the energy will end up as waste heat eventually, but perhaps not in the river.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 7, 2010

Thanks for the input.

If I were to design a water desalination plant based on waste heat, I would seek to keep all the Brackish water (from the sea, not rivers) confined at the plant until evaporation is complete. The plant could then sell as much of the resulting salts to industry as possible before returning the now cooled unsold  evaporate to the ocean.

Of course such a system would need to be well thought out by competent engineers.

Osha Davidson's picture
Osha Davidson on Oct 7, 2010

Hundreds of billions of fish are killed annually in US rivers by discharged warm water from coal and nuclear power plants   Reference please?

http://bit.ly/9WXjzO

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 8, 2010

Regarding: “Hundreds of billions of fish are killed annually in US rivers by discharged warm water from coal and nuclear power plants.   Reference please?”

 

Osha I tried following the link you provided.

1) It connects to this Blog : http://spoonsenergymatters.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/17/

        Which links this 2003 pdf: http://rogerwitherspoon.com/pdfs/energy/billionskilled.pdf

                  Which Quotes “A Study” by “The Department of Environmental Conservation”

                        Which is a New York State Agency…..Not the EPA as claimed by the Blog.

2) The Pdf (above) said that the billions of fish killed were suckked in by CWIS (CWIS = Coolloing Water Intake Structures) which were too large to keep out smaller fish. As near as I could see on my read, (it was not about billions of fish killed by waste heat directly.

Problems witth CWIS in older systems, and potentially newer ones are being addressed: See Here:http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/32847.html

Osha I see no reasons why Nuclear Power shoul/could not continue to be used for power generation and desalination based on the link you provided.

Osha Davidson's picture
Osha Davidson on Oct 8, 2010

That’s what I get for grabbing the first link handy.

I really can’t spend the time hunting down a link that quanitifies the number of fish killed by thermal pollution caused by nuclear and coal power plants — so I shouldn’t have put a number on it in the first place. Apologies. Anyone seriously engaged with power generation knows it’s a serious issue — any legit controversy is over how serious (how many fish are killed).

Paul, You wrote:

Osha I see no reasons why Nuclear Power shoul/could not continue to be used for power generation and desalination based on the link you provided.

I agree. I didn’t suggest we stop using nuclear power. I know there’s this either/or dynamic around nuclear (you’re either 100% for it, or 100% against it), but I don’t subscribe to that dualistic POV.

Bill Hannahan's picture
Bill Hannahan on Oct 8, 2010

Humans reproduce by giving birth, fish lay eggs. One female fish can lay hundreds of eggs each year, perhaps thousands in a lifetime. On average, in a stable healthy ecosystem, two of those eggs will survive through a full lifetime. The inlet screens keep out all but the small fish and eggs.

What percentage of small fish and eggs are killed in this manner?

What impact does that have on the ecosystem?

How different would the fish population be without those deaths?

The Hudson River ecosystem is healthier now than it has been in decades. How much better would it be without this impact?

What is that improvement worth?

What would it cost to eliminate those deaths?

Does the warm water help the young fish survive the winter?

Anyone who “knows it’s a serious issue –” without knowing the answers to these questions is letting their bias show.

 

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Oct 8, 2010

Excellent!

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