ENERGY REALITIES: DEMAND, SUPPLY, AND CALCULATIONS FOR CHANGING THE ENERGY MIX
What does this mean for energy supplies, price, and emissions? And what really needs to be done to have a significant change in the energy mix? We know the issues related to coal emissions, but it supplies 50% of our electricity. And we know the issues of emissions with and our dependency on foreign crude oil, but there are over 250 million vehicles in the U.S. and over 50 million new vehicles produced globally each year. Will new natural gas supplies from black shale be the answer, since it produces 45% less greenhouse gases than coal? Or will the gas bubble burst on these new supplies? Will wind or biofuels be able to replace a significant percentage of electricity and fuels? What about conservation and efficiencies? The steps and the solutions are hotly debated but the energy issue remains. One example of the complexity of the issue revolves around wind power. The Department of Energy estimates that the U.S. could provide 20% of our electricity from wind by 2030. However, this would require >500 large wind farms the size of the offshore Massachusetts Cape Wind Project (130 wind turbines); the debate on that project has lasted a decade. Energy calculations for North Carolina will illustrate the issues and possibilities for meeting energy demand from conventional and unconventional sources.