Friday, March 29, 2013

Energy Facts For Obama's First Term: Gas, Oil, Renewable Energy Production Surge But Coal And Nuclear Drop

Ken Bossong of the Sun Day Campaign crunched EIA data, comparing energy production in 2012 or the last year of President Obama's first term to 2008 or President Bush's last year of his second term.  The numbers both contradict and reinforce political stereotypes.

During President Obama's first term, gas and oil production surged 18.71% and 29.47%.  Gas production reached record levels in 2011 and 2012.  Oil production is still rocketing up, exceeding 7 million barrels per day and already at the highest levels in more than 20-years.

Though gas and oil boomed, coal production dropped sharply--down 13.28%.  The drop in coal production  would have been even greater, except for record setting coal exports in 2011 and 2012.

The fall in coal production results primarily from a massive move from coal-fired generation to natural-gas power plants. Coal power plants provided 48% of the nation's electricity in 2008 but just 37% in 2012, as they lost considerable market share to natural gas power plants.  Natural gas power plants produced 30% of America's electricity in 2012.

In addition to coal, nuclear power declined, dropping 4.47%.  The rebirth of nuclear power that President Obama supports with major new production tax credits and loan guarantees is a flop to date.

Though President Obama's effort to boost nuclear energy has failed, his embrace of renewable energy has produced major production gains. Production from all forms of renewable energy--hydro, biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass--rose 23.48% during President Obama's first term.  Hydro power is by far the biggest source of renewable energy, and it grew the slowest, increasing 7.01%.

While hydro power increased slowly, biofuels, wind, solar, and geothermal boomed.  Biofuel production was up 40.66% and wind up 149.27%.

Using the EIA data that does not include large amounts of distributed solar generation in its total, Bossong calculated that solar production rose 138.20%.  In fact, the solar increase was much greater than that  impressive number.

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