Lawrence Livermore energy flow charts show renewable energy increase, energy efficiency down
Energize Weekly, April 19, 2017
Renewable energy resources are growing in the U.S., but overall energy efficiency is flagging, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The flow charts track the sources of energy for the nation and where it is used. Comparing 2016, the most recent year available, with 2011 showed stability in overall energy use at 97.3 quadrillion British thermal units or quads.
Within that global figure, however, there have been significant changes. Although still small, solar nearly quadrupled to 0.59 quads and wind increased 12 percent to 2.11 quads. Energy sources that do not emit greenhouse gases, which included nuclear and hydro, accounted for 14 percent of the total energy, up slightly over the last five years.
Coal dropped 28 percent to 28.5 quads with natural gas was up 14 percent. And while there has been a big focus on how natural gas is replacing coal for electricity generation, 61 percent of the natural gas in 2015 went directly to industry, commercial and residential use.
Energy for electricity generation declined over the seven-year period by 4 percent to 37.5 quads. Petroleum held steady at 35.9 quads with 72 percent of it used in transportation and another 23 percent going to industry.
At its end use, energy is either captured and placed back into the system or lost. The first category is called energy services and the latter rejected energy. Some rejected energy, for example, shows up as waste heat from power plants.
The ration of energy services to total energy over the seven years has slipped to 32 percent from 43 percent, according to the flow charts.