Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Energy's Winners and Losers During The Great American Energy Diet That Has Dropped Demand To 1999 Levels

The great American energy diet is shrinking how much energy Americans use. Collectively we are back to 1999 levels of energy consumption, a time when America had 40 less people in it. But that total decline conceals important consumption ups and downs for each major energy source.

Simply put, consumption of natural gas, wind, and solar is rising strongly, while coal and oil usage drops significantly. The shrinking energy pie is intensifying competition between fuels for market share.

Last year saw America use record amounts of natural gas, wind, and solar.  For each of them, 2012 was a great year for usage.  Yet, for coal and oil usage, 2012 saw consumption drop to 1985 and 1995 levels.  Nuclear power reached record production levels in 2010 but was about 6% below that record level in 2012.

One result of the shift to gas, wind, and solar and from coal and oil is sharply falling carbon emissions and sharply declining sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, soot, and other air pollutants.  America's air has not been cleaner in decades!

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