World Energy Issues

Why is Electrical Energy Expensive?


Article by a site contributor called David, thanks, David!

To generate large quantities of electricity usually electrical generators are used and these need to be driven mechanically to turn them.  The drive to turn them can be reasonably direct for example in the form of water and air turbines or indirect via a heat engine with the heat being produced for example by gas, oil, coal or nuclear energy.


Oil From Crops


Apparently it should be possible in the best case to produce 20,000 barrels of oil from crops per year on a square kilometer of land.  Taking an extremely unlikely scenario to illustarte what this means, the numbers in the table show what would be required of the land in 2010 and in 2035 assuming that all oil is produced from the land.   Many of the numbers used have come from the CIA website, an excellent source of data, an example of which is shown below.  The key number is the use of oil each day, the number is 80,000,000 bbl per day (barrels per day) today and this is likely to double by 2035.


Energy Consumption World Wide


For this site a simple contextualization of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission is a very useful as an indicator of what can be achieved in various future power generation and energy saving scenarios.  It is the aim of this article to as simply as possible convey the key statistics related to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is almost certainly the case that we are having an effect on our planet with CO2 emission but is also clear that natural fluctuations do occur which confuse the picture, The graph below shows this fluctuation over the past 2000 years in the North Atlantic and shows the so called “the medieval warm period” in this region.  Temperatures are higher now and more importantly are globally higher; it is also the case that the rate of increase is greater. This is a reasonably strong indicator that we are at the very least contributing to temperature change and we should not sit on our hands and assume all will be well if we do nothing. Pragmatically another reason for addressing reliance on fossil fuels is that they will run out.