Fuel Portfolio of Choice

It is clear that we will be using a broad mix of fuels to generate the energy we will need. I have predicted here that the total will be higher than the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, but whether you believe their figures or mine, it would be foolhardy to walk away from any of the sources of energy we currently have.

Bearing in mind that the U.S. used about 100 quads last year, have a look at the table released today by the EIA regarding how much energy we are getting from renewables:

U.S. Renewables & CO2 Emissions Summary
2010 2011 2012 2013
Conventional hydroelectric power only. Hydroelectricity generated by pumped storage is not included in renewable energy.
Fuel ethanol and biodiesel supply represent domestic production only.
U.S. Renewables Supply (quadrillion Btu)
Hydroelectric Powera 2.539 3.171 2.779 2.660
Geothermal 0.208 0.222 0.227 0.228
Solar 0.109 0.114 0.128 0.139
Wind 0.924 1.168 1.327 1.388
Wood 1.979 1.967 1.975 2.005
Ethanolb 1.127 1.183 1.174 1.171
Biodieselb 0.039 0.110 0.110 0.128
Other Renewables 0.479 0.482 0.491 0.501
Total 7.404 8.418 8.189 8.220

Eight percent from renewables isn’t peanuts.  The kicker is the 2 quads we get from wood–we probably don’t really want that to be so high. Hydroelectric is going to have a down year, which masks the growth in solar, wind and biofuels.

Those 8 quads and 8% are roughly matched by nuclear power, which produced 8.44 quads in 2010. That gets us to almost 17 quads and 17% of the current total, which is really quite respectable.

What’s tough is looking at expected growth out to 2030. The EIA forecasts that nuclear will grow at 0.4% per year, yielding 9.55 quads in 2030. They expect 1.7% annual growth from renewables, which would take it to 11.1 quads. That’s 20.65 quads, which will be 19% of the total 108 quads they project for the U.S. in 2030.

Could do better…

I’ll say again I think their forecast of 108 quads in 2030 for the U.S. seems low. That’s scary. I think their forecast of renewable and nuclear energy is also low. That’s cheering.

This is kind of a high stakes race we’re watching. Hope we get it right.

One response to “Fuel Portfolio of Choice

  1. i beleive that Biodiesel is the wave of the future. the good thing about it is that it is renewable. `

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