Thursday, March 23, 2017

The consumption of energy in the United States has also changed since 1908

The consumption of energy in the United States has also changed significantly over the past hundred years. In 1908, the country consumed just 15 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), of which three-quarters was coal. By the time the Cubs made their last World Series appearance, total energy consumption in the country had doubled. Coal was still the main fuel, but petroleum had also become a large source of energy consumption.

Energy Consumption in US

In comparison, the last time the Indians appeared in the World Series (1997), U.S. energy consumption had increased to totals closer to those seen today. Consumption in 1997 totaled 94 quadrillion Btu. Coal’s share had fallen to one-quarter of total consumption, and natural gas and nuclear made up a large share. Since then, the shares of natural gas and other renewables used to generate electricity have increased, resulting in a lower share of coal generation.
The share of nonhydro renewable consumption is actually lower today (10%) than it was in 1908 (15%). This is a factor of both lower energy consumption as a whole and a large amount of biomass (in this case wood) consumption 100 years ago. Today, while the nonhydro renewable share of total energy consumption is lower than in 1908, solar and wind generation continue to increase and make up a large percentage of total nonhydro renewables.
Despite the changes in fuel sources, fossil fuels have continued to make up a large percentage of U.S. energy consumption. In 1908, fossil fuels accounted for 85% of total consumption. When the Indians won the World Series in 1948, that share had increased to 91%, as petroleum and natural gas had begun to account for increasing amounts of energy consumption. Fossil fuel consumption has fallen in recent years, accounting for 81% of total consumption in 2015.


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