How much energy does the US need? - June 03, 2018

How much energy does the US need?

How much energy does the United States need in a year? It’s enough to say that the country uses the second most electricity after China, but there are other kinds of energy as well. Thanks to a new diagram we can see it all in one image. The chart also shows some serious problems with the country’s energy consumption.

For some time now, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (which is funded by the Department of Energy and University of California, Berkeley) publishes a special Sankey diagram that shows how much energy is generated and consumed by the United States in a year.

It’s not just electricity

The diagram not only shows consumption of electricity, but all energy types. The data also shows what resources were used for generating the energy and how. It’s also important to notice that the measurements are in Quads, which is a bit unusual to see.

Estimated U.S. Energy Consumption

Click on the image to see it in full resolution

According to Visual Capitalist, one Quad equals one quadrillion BTUs. These scientific measurements may not be obvious for everyone, so they brought some “everyday” examples as well. One quad equals 293,071,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), 8,007,000,000 gallons (US) of gasoline or 36,000,000 tonnes of coal. Or to put it really simply: it’s a lot and it’s usually used to calculate the whole energy consumption of a country.

Waste and renewable

The diagram also shows how much energy is rejected in the United States. This may be even more shocking than consumption alone. 66.7 quads or 68.27% of all generated energy is rejected. This can mean two things: either the generated energy is not used and wasted, or it’s used ineffectively. Transportation for example only uses 21% of all energy generated within it.

It’s also interesting to see that despite the renewable revolution, we can see that lately only 6.1 quads of energy was generated by renewables. This is only 6.2% of the whole energy production in the US. This also means that the country has a long way to go to be really green when we’re talking about all energy generated.

Electricity is a bit different

When we’re looking at electricity, the proportions are different. The US is the second biggest country in wind energy, generating 65 megawatts by only this one renewable. Only China was before them with 114 megawatts. The US is also in the TOP 10 in solar energy, and they are also investing in that seriously, though China outbids them.

This diagram shows one thing for sure, however. Even if countries are focusing on green electricity, there are other energy types and usages that are still heavily dependent on non-renewable energy. Transportation for example is still mostly based on petroleum and in the US that made up almost 29% of all energy consumption. Electric cars (lead by American Tesla) may change that, but only on the long run. This also means that crude can still shine before electricity takes it over.

Disclaimer: This analysis is for general information and is not a recommendation to sell or buy any instrument. Since every investment holds some risk, our main business policy is based on diversification to minimize threats and maximize profits. Innovative Securities’ Profit Max has a diversified portfolio, which contains liquid instruments. This way, our clients can maintain liquidity, while achieving their personal investment goals on the long term.