America adds more sources to its energy arsenal
Ramped-up oil and gas output, more efficiency and greater use of alternatives, including geothermal, push the US closer to energy independence.
Is America indeed on the way to weaning itself off foreign oil? A lot of experts seem to think so.
In its annual global report released late last year, the International Energy Agency projected the U.S. would become the world's largest oil producer around 2020, temporarily overtaking Saudi Arabia. And thanks in part to new light oil and shale gas resources, as well as the introduction of more energy-efficient technologies, the U.S. could become a net oil exporter by 2030.
However, as the report points out, no country is an energy island.
Competitive international power markets, it notes, "are creating stronger links between gas and coal markets, while these markets also need to adapt to the increasing role of renewables and, in some cases, to the reduced role of nuclear power."
In addition, alternative and renewable energy sources are making up a growing percentage of America's new power-generating capacity. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the use of electricity generated by solar power more than tripled between late 2009 and mid-2012 -- while most of the new U.S. generators built over the past 15 years are powered by either natural gas or wind.
And another alternative and renewable power source, geothermal energy created by the Earth's heat, is apparently getting ready for prime time.
The Geothermal Energy Association, an industry trade group, says in its latest annual report that installed geothermal capacity in the U.S. grew by 5% compared to the previous, to just over 147 megawatts (MW). While that's a relatively modest amount -- a megawatt can provide power to about 1,000 homes -- the association expects the amount of U.S. power generated by geothermal energy to keep climbing.
In fact, according to GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell, the geothermal energy sector is steaming.
"The U.S. is posed to add 1,000 MW of geothermal power, more than 10 times as much geothermal capacity as during the previous decade," he said in a press statement. "And [Tuesday's] report indicates that there are over 2,500 MW more that could come online in the next decade. We are headed to 6,000 MW of geothermal, but could do much more."
Geothermal power plants are currently up and running in eight states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. And geothermal development projects are reportedly underway in Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas and Washington State.
The industry is looking for federal incentives similar to the ones extended to the solar and wind energy sectors, "to spur investors to undertake the risk of investing in new geothermal projects," says Gawell. After all, the more energy sources the nation can tap, the better off it will be.
I'm just a realist who doesn't buy into Green Energy political hype. We have enough natural gas to last us for centuries, and a few decades down the road the technology may make it economically feasible for more green energy to stand on it's own merits without costing society 30 times more to produce the same net result. We could solve our trade deficit and become a wealthy nation just like the countries in the oil cartel.
WSJ (2/27/13) California Girds for Electricity Woes.
In a nutshell, (subsidized) wind & solar energy are displacing conventional (penalized) power capacity to the point where conventional power is being taken permanently off line. It seem that by 2020 to 2022 there will be insufficient conventional power to balance capacity when the wind won't blow and/or the sun won't shine.
Could be interesting as they,CA, whine with the best of them.
compared to 40 years ago, we are certainly much better.
but it's still all about the cash involved. and big cash involves big people, which involves confrontations with other root cause interests.
There is a law that says the USA cannot export raw oil. The law is being side stepped by the "condensing" of the oil into "refined' fuels like Kerosene that can be exported. We have the oil, it is going overseas while the Americans are paying more for gas that is refined here. Only makes sense if you understand this is a free market system, however we are in a trade deficit with China for US $315 billion. Where do a lot of the condensates go - you guessed it, Asia and it still doesn't balance out our deficit spending. Americans only have themselves to blame.
Exports of our natural resources are going up by exponential amounts. Coal and Natural gas are on the list of exports leaving here at a fast pace.
I would love to look at the potential for piezoelectrics in our urban sidewalks. Not something that would work everywhere but times square is always full of people walking around. Same goes for the steps leading in and out of the subways in midtown Manhattan. The other thing I've wondered about is pressure plates at our busiest intersections - cars drive over them which could pump liquid back and forth across turbine blades. Do that at the entrance to the lincoln tunnel and maybe they wouldn't have to raise the damn tolls every year.
Go for whatever we can in order to stop putting thousands of 500 foot (50 stories) wind turbines next to homes with NO compensation what so ever!
These monstrosities are noisy AND they are rotating, causing flicker in homes for hours every day with flashing red lights.!
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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