Posting in Energy
A chart illustrates the dramatic changes within the nation's power sector over the past several decades. The upshot? Natural gas isn't the only rising star.
If there was ever a way to neatly sum up 80 years of energy policy, economics and technology in the United States, this chart might do the trick.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration looked at all power plants in operation, as of 2010, and then charted them out by the date they came online and fuel type (hat tip Andrew Revkin at NYT). The chart tells dozens of stories: the early reliance on hydropower; the long-standing dominance of coal; and the wave of nuclear plant construction from the late 1960s to about 1990.
Then there's the more recent and dramatic shift from coal to natural gas power plants. Most gas-fired capacity is less than 10 years old, the EIA said. Meanwhile, 73 percent of all coal-fired capacity was 30 years or older at the end of 2010.
The rise of natural gas has been thoroughly documented in recent years. And while wind power has seen its fair share of press coverage, folks might not realize just how far its come within the U.S. power sector. Since 2006, 36 percent of total electric power industry capacity additions have been wind generators, the EIA said.
This recent wave of natural gas-fired and wind generating capacity additions shows no signs of slowing.
In the first half of 2012, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts of new capacity, the EIA said in a brief released Monday. Ten states, which added 80 percent of that new generating capacity, turned primarily to natural gas and renewable energy.
More small generators were added than large generators, the EIA said. Of the 165 generators added, 105 were under 25 MW and many of these use renewable energy sources, most commonly solar and landfill gas.
Efficient combined cycle natural gas generators are now competitive with coal generators over large parts of the country and are increasingly moving into coal country. For example, combined-cycle generators that came online in the first six months of 2012 were added in states that traditionally burn coal, with the exception of Idaho, the EIA said.
As existing coal plants continue to age, few, if any, will take their place in the coming years. Only one coal-fired generator, an 800-MW unit in Illinois, was brought online in the first half of 2012. Fourteen of the planned coal generators in EIA databases are in the construction phase. An additional five are reporting a planned status, but are not yet under construction. The EIA noted that only one of the 14 advanced from a pre-construction to an under-construction status between its 2010 and 2011 surveys.
Aug 22, 2012
It is good to see the diversity in energy production. However the politics that pushes this is financially unsustainable. Don't forget that in 2006 the Democrats took over congress and passed '100 laws in 100 days', most of which were knee-jerk and a detriment to the population. The Ethanol program is a perfect example. Burn your food and the price of food goes up. Government pays BIG for ethanol production. Ethanol gas is less efficient, so 9/10th of a gallon of pure gas is more efficient than 10% ethanol fuel. You have to burn MORE gasahol to go the same distance as LESS regular gas. Therefore, Ethenal is worse for the environment AND food production AND fuel prices. Most of Europe is figuring this out and dumping their ethanol. The growing 'Green' industries are all supported by tax dollars as none of them are self sustaining. The 'Big Oil' companies are funding their own 'green' energy without billions in YOUR tax dollars, because they have vested interest in the future of the country and know that their only future lies in diversifying energy sources at a sustainable cost. Change is better effected through Education and Persuasion than by Mandation and Intimidation.
In view of these charted facts, I better understand why the GOP wants to shove $40 Billion in welfare annually to the petroleum companies while cutting support to wind, solar and other green sources. They're scared their oil-money political campaign dollars will suffer unless they kill green. My next house will definitely be off grid.
According to the NY Times the US is paying 4 billion in subsidies to oil this year. So much for them being self sustaining....
FAQsPrevious Next How much does the oil industry pay in income taxes each year? U.S. oil and natural gas companies pay their fair share of taxes and are a tremendous source of public revenue. In 2011, income tax expenses averaged 40.6 percent, compared to just 25.1 percent for other S&P Industrial companies. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry also pays the federal government significant rents, royalties and lease payments for production access â totaling more than $100 billion since 2000. In fact, U.S. oil and natural gas companies pay approximately $86 million to the federal government in both income taxes and production fees every single day. ExxonMobilâs recent tax bill offers a more tangible example. The companyâs U.S. tax bill for the first half of 2011 was $6.7 billion, a figure greater than their $5.5 billion in operating earnings in the United States. This means that governments in the U.S. earned almost $1.22 for every dollar that ExxonMobil shareholders earned. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil has continued to invest in projects in the United States â from 2009 to the first half of last year, they invested $19.8 billion in U.S. capital projects, an amount equal to 120 percent of their U.S. operating earnings over the same period.