Statistical Grok: Energy Sources, Carbon Footprints and Subsidiesby Bill Chameides | June 6th, 2008
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)
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Spain’s wind powerhouse Acciona Energía has some 180 wind farms in 10 countries. Its recent inroads in the U.S. include the Tatanka project in the Dakotas. (NREL/Todd Spink)
We are going to have to slash our nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — our collective carbon footprint. Even President Bush has accepted this. Electricity generation comprises about 40 percent of that footprint. How do those emissions break down? And how much of the federal government’s largesse is being used to lower those emissions? Let’s take a look.
Breakdown of Primary Electricity Supply by Fuel Type
Percent from coal: 52%
Percent from natural gas: 20%
Percent from wind: 0.7%
Percent from solar: 0.01%
Life-Cycle GHG Emissions by Fuel Type
From coal: 954 kg/MWh
From natural gas: 484 kg/MWh
From wind: 6 kg/MWh
From solar: 44 kg/MWh
Amount of U.S. R&D Funding by Fuel Type, 2002-2007*
Fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, oil): $3.1 billion
Renewables (includes solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal): $1.4 billion
Amount of Tax-related Expenditures by Fuel Type, 2002-2007
Fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, oil): $13.7 billion
Renewables (includes solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal): $2.8 billion
*Funding from Department of Energy
EIA, Energy Consumption by Sector: www.eia.doe.gov/aer/consump.html
EIA, Annual Energy Review: www.eia.doe.gov/aer/
GAO, Federal Electricity Subsidies: www.gao.gov/docdblite/summary.php?rptno=GAO-08-102&accno=A77708
Fthenakis, V.M., Kim, H.C., Alsema E., 2008, “Emissions from Photovoltaic Life Cycles,” Environmental Science and Technology, March, 44, pp 2168-2174.
Meier P., 2002, “Life-Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Systems and Applications for Climate Change Policy Analysis,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin Madison.
Spath, P, Mann, M., 2004, Biomass Power and Conventional Fossil Systems with and without CO2 Sequestration – Comparing the Energy Balance, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, NREL/TP-510-32575, January 2004.
Spath, P., Mann, M., 2000, Life Cycle Assessment of a Natural Gas Combined-Cycle Power Generation System, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, NREL/TP-570-27715, September 2000.
Spath, P., Mann, M., Kerr, D., 1999, Life Cycle Assessment of Coal-fired Power Production, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, NREL/TP-570-25119, June 1999.
Spitzley D., Keoleian G. A., 2005, Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Assessment of Willow Biomass Electricity: A Comparison with Other Renewable and Non-Renewable Sources, Report # CSS04-05R, March 2004 (revised February 10, 2005), Center for Sustainable Systems University of Michigan.
White S., 1998, Net Energy Payback and CO2 Emissions from Helium-3 Fusion and Wind Electrical Power Plants, #UWFDM-1093, Ph.D. dissertation, Fusion Technology Institute University of Wisconsin.filed under: carbon dioxide emissions, faculty, renewable energy, Statistically Speaking
and: carbon footprint, electricity, renewables