ENERGY CONSUMPTION CRISIS Energy is important to our nation for many reasons. It is a key economic driver. It offers new market opportunities for business. Providing energy to our nation has been an exciting challenge in recent years. Many changes have been constant throughout that period. The past tells Americans that predicting the specifics of the energy future for our nation with great accuracy would be unlikely.
Americans get their energy from different types of resources. With all the different resources Americans believe that an energy crunch shouldn't happen. The crisis is a nationwide energy discontent in which natural gas rates have soared to the highest level in 15 years, and OPEC has slashed its oil output again to keep prices up. Most Americans know their the ones, who are mostly to blame for the energy crisis.
Americans greed drives us to demand more space and privacy, more power and speed, and more comfort and ease. Satisfying these demands requires the burning of more fossil fuels. Due to the large amounts of energy that Americans use, the demand for more energy resources are becoming low. The energy crisis in California could spread throughout the United States unless answers to these problems of energy consumption can be solved. If the energy crisis should happen to spread throughout the United States, there would be a large demand for more energy resources. More and more efforts are being attempted for finding new types of energy resources for the long term.
Large amounts of money are being spent on different types of energy. Prices will continue to grow if there is a shortage of energy. Americans will have to pay more for energy in the years to come if the oil and natural gas prices continue to go up, due to lack of oil drilling spots. Long term energy problems will be solved with all the new types of energy out there. Early in the 1970 s, natural gas was thought to b a declining fuel.
Outdated and counter productive pricing regulations handcuffed the industry. The picture today is decidedly different. Natural gas is being counted on to fuel most of America's economic expansions way into the 21 st century. The regulations of the 1970 s have been replaced by a restructured gas market, and the industry has responded. The demand for gas is growing faster than anyone predicted.
The United States economy is also growing faster. Environmental regulations that favor natural gas consumption are more firmly in place and are becoming much stronger. More than half of the growth for natural gas, over the next 20 years, will come from the electric generation market. The use of natural gas in this country could increase by more than a third in the next 20 years. In the electric power generation industry, natural gas could increase as much as 250 percent for power generation. The United States now has two percent of the world's proven crude-oil reserves.
Most of the American produced oil comes form old wells, where the output declines over the years. Production costs are lower overseas, so it is cheaper to buy from OPEC nations than from many American suppliers. Increasing energy supplies requires not only wells but new pipelines to transport oil and natural gas. In 1998, the United States consumed 9. 8 million more barrels of oil a day than it produced. The economic miracles of the 20 th century were powered by fossil fuels.
The 21 st century may be seen by an equally dramatic change from fossil fuels, and the environmental chaos they brought. The result may be less than an energy revolution. The cost of fossil fuel energy produced is comparable to that of electricity. A fuel cell cleanly and quietly combines oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity. Fuel cells could one day sit in thousands of basements producing power and hot water, without fossil fuels. Some fossil fuel lobbyists still argue that it will be difficult and expensive to find an alternative to oil and coal.
Nuclear energy also called atomic energy, is a powerful energy released by changes in the nucleus core of atoms. The heat and light of the sun result from nuclear energy. Since 1945, uses of nuclear energy have been developed. The energy that is released by the nuclei creates large amounts of heat.
The heat can then be used to make steam, and the steam can be used to generate electric energy. Nuclear power plants have two main advantages over fossil-fuel plants. When a nuclear power plant is built, it can be less expensive to operate than a fossil-fuel plant, because a nuclear plant uses a much smaller volume of fuel. Many experts believe the benefits of nuclear energy outweigh any problems involved in its production. According to those experts, oil may be so scarce by the mid-2000 s that it may be too expensive to drill. If nuclear energy were fully developed, it could completely replace oil and coal as a major source of electric power.
But, the number of problems must be solved before nuclear energy can be fully developed. Almost all of today's power reactors use a scarce type of uranium known a U-235. If large amounts of U-235 continues to be used at its present rate, the world's supply of it will become so small that it will be to expensive to mine and process by the year 2050. The only way nuclear energy can replace other energy sources, is that it must be based on fuel that there is more of, rather than Uranium-235. Nuclear energy currently produces 20 percent of all electricity in the United States. Many experts predict that nuclear energy will become increasingly important.
Within years to come, wind power (a form of solar energy) may supply a large percentage of the world's energy. Wind power has often been used to generate electricity. These days wind is also attractive because it is free and renewable and does not add to air or water pollution. The mechanism for turning wind into electricity is very simple. The wind spins rotor blades mounted on a tower. The spinning blades are linked to a shaft of an electric generator.
The turning generator then produces electricity that is carried by power lines. Despite the simple operation of the wind mill, wind power hasn't been used that much. The main reason is the cost. The United States leads the world in the use of wind power. Windmills account for about 2, 500 megawatts of generating capacity nationwide. The production is expected to double by the end of this year, to provide enough electricity for 1.
3 million households. The most important factor in making wind power more effective is the location of the wind farm. It is clear that wind power has enormous potential. A jump to solar power would solve about a hundred earthly problems. The most useful form of solar energy reaches the earth's surface in the form of light. There seems to be no end to the potential use of solar energy being used in the United States.
One of the greatest obstacles in the United States is the existing electrical structure. Many people in the renewable industries see the deregulation of utilities as very positive for solar energy. More and more Americans are using solar roofs on their homes. The hope is that the million solar roofs will increase momentum in the United States for more widespread use of solar energy. How quickly Americans can move beyond a thousand roofs and make a leap to full use of solar energy's potential depends on the answer of one question. Can people imagine a world with a non-polluting source of energy Hydroelectricity is obtained from the energy contained in falling water.
It is a renewable, non-polluting energy source. Hydroelectricity was introduced in the 1880 s. The development of hydroelectric power and its share of total electric production varies. For the energy resources, in the future, wind and solar energy will probably be the leading source of energy. Fossil fuels energy is struggling due to prices and the lack of areas to drill for oil. Nuclear energy is using large amounts of U-235, which could be gone in the years to come.
The radiation given off from nuclear energy is also a factor in using nuclear energy. Hydroelectric energy will be providing energy for Americans as long as the dams have water to produce the energy. Oil and natural gas will still be out there for energy sources in the future. Many Americans will probably find ways to deal with the energy crunch, by using new efficient resources. Americans hesitate to make detailed predictions about the energy future much past the present. To secure energy for the future cooperating with foreign governments and institutions to develop energy sector laws would help.
Policies and regulatory processes for setting standards and opening markets, could help the energy crisis in the United States. Also, promoting energy production in the future in ways that respect health and environmental problems. Many experts agree that consumers who invest in things like better insulation and windows to make their homes more efficient will see the cheapest bills in the future. In conclusion the past years have been exciting for energy markets, energy policy, and energy supply and demand. Many people have made significant progress in understanding the importance of a basic resource, which they once took for granted. Americans can expect to have better tools for the future of energy and to be better at identifying and addressing these challenges.