Monthly Archives: May 2012

U.S. Energy Consumption in 2011 and DOE Predictions for 2012

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the U.S. used almost exactly the same amount of energy in 2011 as it did in 2010. In 2010 we used 98.16 quads and in 2011 we used 98.29.

Is that good, bad or indifferent? The two numbers aren’t enough to tell.

Because our population grew by more than 3 million people, at least it didn’t rise by one quad-as I wrote earlier, we use about 1 quad for every 3 million people. In 2010 our population was counted at 310.83 million and in 2011 it was estimated at 313.84. But that’s still not good enough. Our energy use per capita rose, although only a little.

Although our GDP grew by half a trillion dollars, we are not getting more bang for our energy buck. In 2010 our GDP was $13.088 trillion and it rose to $13.506 trillion in 2011. We are using more energy to produce 1 unit of GDP than we did in 2010. That’s also bad.

However, our carbon dioxide emissions declined by 500 million metric tonnes (equivalent, which means adding in emissions of other greenhouse gases and converting that to an equivalent amount of CO2 emissions). Our emissions in 2010 were estimated at 5,633.6 million metric tonnes in 2010 and 5,600 in 2011. And that’s good. It means we are converting from coal to gas and continuing the grand experiment with hybrids and renewable sources of energy.

One metric out of three is positive. That’s not good enough.

The Arab Spring Leads to Summer

What do rich people spend their money on?

Kuwait is a rich country. Their GDP per capita is $47,982–pretty close to ours, which is $48,386. Nice to have oil in the back yard, or at least natural gas–here in the U.S. we have both!

What’s important to the Kuwaitis? Energy. Not just oil, but energy. They use a lot–whereas in America the average citizen consumes about 310 mbtus annually, in Kuwait it’s 469 mbtus. You can see where some of it goes here.

60% of their energy use is residential. Guess why?

The undersecretary of Planning in the Kuwaiti Ministry of Electricity and Water put it another way, after noting that the average annual electricity consumption in Kuwait is 12,000 MW and it will double in seven years. Dr. Mishan Al Otaibi said “More than 70 percent of the country’s power generation is spent on comfort cooling”. He added  “By 2030, the demand will grow to 32,000 MW. Kuwait uses 350,000 barrels of oil per day to generate electricity, and in the next 15 years, this figure will climb to 1 million bpd.”

Dr. Otaibi was announcing for district cooling, not a bad idea. However, if I might suggest something, anybody using oil to generate electricity in a country that gets more sun than anything else might be missing the boat…

At the same conference where Dr. Otaibi was speaking, Fadhel Al Kazemi, CEO of Kazema Global Holding, said HH the Amir of Kuwait has laid great stress on the need to cut carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption and decrease electricity demand. The CEO broadsided Kuwait for providing the most subsidized electricity in the Gulf region known for its lavish subsidies. “We produce at 238 fils and sell at 2 fils per KW hour.

Whether it’s through district cooling, solar power or bringing icebergs up from the Antarctic, Kuwait will probably succeed in lowering the energy intensity of their air conditioning.

Two points:

  1. Most of the developing world will be richer than Kuwait is today by 2075. They too will want air conditioning–or its equivalent, depending on their latitude and attitudes. Their energy consumption will tend to want to double–just like Kuwait’s.
  2. Once the developing world is rich enough, they want to lower their energy consumption. Hope for the future and all that…

The Best Example of Energy Efficiency I Can Provide

Rutt Bridges is currently Chairman of Transform Software and Services. He is also an alumnus of Georgia Tech, one of the first graduates of what was then the School of Geosciences.

He contributed this article to Judith Curry’s blog at Climate Etc. It has saved me a lot of energy needed to explore issues related to natural gas, electricity and energy. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Here is just one of the many charts in his article.

What The World Needs Now

You can sing along.