Whether you are driving to work or flying from one state or country to another, you depend on energy.
Energy is the lifeline of the US, whether it’s your car or the aviation turbine fuel in airplanes. From offices to homes, everything runs on power.
If you want to know where every unit of energy comes from and where it goes, then read on.
Major Sources Of Energy
The two primary sources of energy are non-renewable and renewable.
The non-renewable or conventional sources of energy include oil and petroleum products, nuclear, coal, natural gas liquid, and natural gas.
Oil and petroleum products, coal, and nuclear power are referred to as fossil fuels, whose supply is limited. The primary sources of energy for industrial processes and electricity generation are coal and natural gas.
Renewable energy comprises geothermal, biofuels, biomass, wind, solar, and hydro. They have an unlimited supply. Apart from hydro, the other sources of renewable energy are also called alternative energy.
When it comes to energy sources, natural gas is the largest energy source providing 38% of electricity in the US. Coal and nuclear energy are in second and third positions at 23 and 20%, respectively.
The share of renewable sources is 17%, with wind power and hydro contributing 7.3% and 6.6%, respectively.
People are switching from coal to natural gas in the past seven decades. But we’re not yet there; it will take time for alternative fuels to be significant contributors to power generation.
Major Users Of Energy
There are four major categories of energy users in the US:
- Residential sector
- Commercial sector
- Industrial sector
- Transportation sector
In order to create a comprehensive strategy for energy consumption and saving, we need to look at the end-use relevant sectors. Let’s see how they use energy.
Your apartment or home falls in this sector. Air conditioning and space heating are the biggest seasonal consumers of energy.
The degree of consumption depends on the size and structure of your home, geographical location, and fuel and equipment you use.
Electric power consumption in homes involves water heating, refrigeration, and lighting – these devices use the most energy throughout the year.
Home appliances, televisions, and consumer electronics are next in terms of energy use.
If you look at the sources of energy, the consumption of natural gas and electricity is the highest, followed by petroleum. Liquified petroleum gas, kerosene, and fuel oil come under petroleum.
Technology has reduced the energy use per household with better insulation material, more efficient heating and cooling equipment, and migration of people to regions having lower energy demand.
To lower energy consumption in the residential sector, you can opt for companies like WGL Energy Services that provide electricity to various states in the US through their utility companies.
Before going for a service provider, you need to check their price per megawatt-hour, the price per kilowatt-hour, cancelation fees, termination fees, and percentage sourced from renewable energy.
The top 5 building categories in the commercial sector include mercantile and service, office, education, healthcare, and lodging.
- Mercantile and Service: Gas stations, dry cleaners, car dealerships, malls, and stores
- Offices: Banks, professional, and government offices
- Education: Schools and colleges
- Healthcare: Hospitals and medical offices
- Lodging: Hotels, dormitories, and nursing homes
Groups of commercial buildings are heated and cooled by district energy systems through centralized heating or cooling plants. These systems run mostly on fossil fuels and, in some cases, on renewable energy sources.
The three industries that consume the most energy in the US are bulk chemicals, refining, and mining. Energy is the raw material or feedstock in the manufacturing process.
The primary sources of energy for the industrial sector are a mix of fossil fuels like petroleum, coal, natural gas, and renewable sources.
Biomass is mainly used as renewable energy, apart from the lumber milling, forestry, and agriculture residues. Petroleum includes hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs), residual fuel oils, and distillate.
Electricity is either purchased from independent producers or utility companies or generated by industries using fuels or industrial residue.
If you consider paper mills, they generate electricity through black liquor, a residue of natural gas that they purchase.
Solar energy is used to generate electricity using solar photovoltaic systems owned by certain industries, and the excess electricity is sold to other industries.
Fossil fuels and renewable energy are used in three areas.
- Heat for space heating and industrial processes
- Boiler fuel for electricity generation and process heating
- Feedstocks for the manufacture of chemicals and plastics
HGLs are the most widely used feedstocks in terms of trillion British Thermal Units or TBtu, followed by natural gas.
Electricity has various uses in the industrial sector, like operating heating and cooling equipment or office equipment.
The transportation sectors comprise commercial transport like trucks, trains, buses, cabs, aircraft, and non-commercial transport like cars and motorcycles.
This sector is powered primarily by gasoline, including motor and aviation gasoline, then distillate fuels, and lastly, jet fuels.
Motor gasoline and aviation gasoline comprise the gasoline category. Petroleum gasoline and the addition of biofuels like fuel ethanol to petroleum gasoline make motor gasoline.
The primary energy source for the transportation sector is petroleum gasoline. Petroleum products, biofuels, natural gas, and electricity are the major categories of energy.
If you are looking at usage, then different energy sources are used for other modes of transport. Propane and natural gas are used in cars, buses, and trucks. Aviation gasoline is used for airplanes.
Electric vehicles and mass transit use electricity. Ships use residual fuel oil and distillate fuels.
If your transportation company is based in the Texas area, consider Discount Power, a service provider based in Houston. You get the best rates for electricity with them.
While the residential sector depends on natural gas and electricity, the commercial sector and industrial sector relies on fossil fuels, and the transportation sector primarily runs on gasoline.
As far as the major sources of energy are concerned, natural gas is a clear leader. Though renewable energy usage is showing an upward trend, it still has a long way to go before it can challenge natural gas.
However, climate change concerns are forcing users to give renewable energy a serious thought.