Starting in postings on December 26th, I began the 2012 Countdown of the Top 12 Energy Facts. The Countdown continued on December 27-28 and completed on December 31.
A full discussion of each selected fact can be found in the postings on the foregoing dates, and here are the Top 12 Energy Facts of 2012.
12. Nuclear pain in existing and new US nuclear plants threaten even constructed plants, something that few thought possible before 2012. (See December 26th post).
11. Electricity vehicle sales tripled in 2012, moving over 50,000, showing that EVs are far from dead.
10. Gasoline prices set record high for a full year in 2012, proving that booming domestic oil production, and falling US oil consumption will not substantially shape prices from global oil markets. (See December 27th post).
9. The wind industry installed over 12,000 megawatts of new capacity in 2012, an astonishing number, that will generate an amount of electricity equal to about 6 nuclear units the size of Three Mile Island's still operating unit.
8. MIT published a study that documented methane leakage rates from 4,000 shale gas wells during the flowback period and concluded that Professor Howarth's infamous study had overstated leakage by 7 to 30 times.
7. The solar industry set a record for new capacity by building about 3,200 megawatts of new solar, an amount that will generate an amount of electricity equal to 1 nuclear plant. The solar genie is well out of the bottle.
6. Temperatures in the contiguous 48 states set new record highs on average for a full year in 2012. Rising temperatures and seas are ahead and will impact profoundly the energy world. (See December 28th post).
5. The nation's leading climate skeptic, Professor Richard Muller, completed an exhaustive study of temperature records at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project in 2012 and said that he now agreed that human beings were causing climate change.
4. Coal and gas competition intensified to historic levels in 2012, as cheap gas caused a sharp increase in gas-fired generation and drop in coal-fired electricity.
3. Natural gas price plummeted to the bargain level of $2.73 per thousand cubic feet on average in 2012 and low gas prices slashed carbon and toxic pollution and fended off a double dip recession. (See December 31st post).
2. In a Presidential race where energy was a leading topic and an area of sharp disagreement, President Obama's victory has 6 big energy implications.
1. An American Triumph: US carbon emissions fall another approximately 4% in 2012 and are down 12% from 2005 levels, thanks to natural gas, energy efficiency, and renewable energy