Environmental Study论文模板 – Develop a concept of how a country can further incorporate clean energy systems into its current energy system


Analysis of the national energy system provides an insight into the effectiveness and efficient usage of natural resources of the society and balance factors like efficiency and economics (Thellufsen and Lund, 2016). Energy is that what drives world economies forward and it is necessary to switch to sustainable sources of energy for economic development without drastic environmental consequences. Due to the immense effect of climate change, it is necessary to get valuable insight from the environmental disasters that excessive and inefficient use of fossil fuel has caused (Wares et al. 2018). This insight, in turn, helps to identify different areas where technical improvement must need to be undertaken while indicating the priorities and that must be assigned to the measures.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy have significant importance for the future generation (Kontis et al., 2017). Taking the country USA into consideration, a key concept will be developed in this work that incorporates a clean energy system into the current energy system. Three of renewable energy named as heat, power, and transport will be analysed in the perspective of economic, social and environmental terms. Through energy auditing, program improvement in organisational performance will be evaluated.

1. An analysis of the country’s current energy situation, including its energy mix and its energy demand

The energy flow in the United States is quite complex as there are a variety of primary energy sources that are supplied directly to the transportation sector, industrial, commercial and residential sectors (Salari and Javid, 2016).

Energy mix

According to Trainor et al. (2016), the US uses liquid fuels, coal, natural gas and electricity as its primary source of energy. In 2018 alone, the total energy consumption in the US was around 101.3 quadrillion Btu. This total consumption of energy consisted of 36% of petroleum use, 31% from natural gas, 13% from coal, 8% from nuclear electric power and only 11% consisted of renewable energy. In the previous year, there are three major fossil fuels used in the US, namely natural gas, coal, and petroleum combined and produced nearly about 77.6% as per the report of 2017.

Of all these energy usages, only 11.5 quadrillions Btu came from renewable energy which is not a good sign as the usage of renewable energy dropped from 2017 to 2018. The renewable energy consists of 8% solar, 22% wind, 20% biofuels, 20% wood, 23% hydroelectric, 4% biomass waste and 2% geothermal energy.Natural gas contributes 31.8%, renewable energy 12.7%, coal of 17.8% and petroleum 28% (Worldatlas, 2019). According to Arto et al. (2016), the United States is known as one of the highly developed nations and industrialised society.

Based on the five energy-consuming sectors, the industrial sector consumes nearly 32% that includes equipment and facilities used for construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and mining. The transportation sector uses to run various vehicles and contributes 29%. The residential sector uses 20%, where electricity used for apartments and homes. Commercial sectors like malls, schools, warehouses, and restaurants utilise nearly 18% of energy. Finally, the electric power sector consumes more compared to others.

Energy demand

Although the US population consists of only 5% of the world population, their energy consumptions are almost 17% of the world’s energy consumption. The per capita energy consumption in the US for 1 day consists of 11.5 pounds of coal, 250 cubic feet of natural gas and 2.6 gallons of oil. The electric residential consumption is around 12.2 kWh for every person in the US. However, in the coming years, it is estimated that the use of renewable energy would increase at an average rate of 1.3%. It should be considered that, even with this gradual increase over the years, the energy consumption of US in 2050 would only comprise of 13% renewable energy, which is slightly higher than the 11.4% experienced currently.

Electricity in the US is generated from a mix of primary sources that carries energy to the particular sectors of transportation, heating or cooling and to the electricity generation sector itself (Irena, 2019). However, it has been observed that not all the energy supplied to the industry is used. It also observed that more than half of the energy supplied is lost in the form of waste heat or through the inefficiency processes. It can also be observed that the energy that is lost in the form of waste or through the insufficiency process. Not all the energy supplied is in the lost form of waste it is what that is needed actually. The environment is considered as the main source of energy. Whether it is natural resources or manmade resources.

Figure 1: National energy system in the United States

(Source: Needtoknow, 2019)

This above figure explores the discovery of energy sources that the US depends on and the needs fulfilled by it.

As per current energy demand in the US, the dependences of vehicle burning with petroleum-based fuels becoming a defined component for American life. It has estimated that upcoming next 25 years the total number of vehicles driven by American will be projected to grow by 23%, and this, in turn, increases demand for fuel. The demand for a projected annual growth rate of energy consumption in the transportation sector will rise to 0.84%.

According to Chen and Wu (2017), the US imports a lot of its energy requirements from other areas of the world. However, all the imported oil consisted of only 11% of its total oil demand. According to Fry (2017), among its foreign suppliers, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Mexico are the top countries. In 2018 alone, the petroleum imported from the Persian Gulf region comprised of 16% of its total import despite the fact that almost 50% of the world’s oil reserves are in this region. When estimating future demand, there are various disagreements among experts as to the peak of oil production. With an oil reserve of 3.3 trillion barrels and production growth rate of 2%, the US Department of Energy estimated that the global oil production would peak somewhere around 2044.

2. Options for transitioning towards 100% sustainable energy for its

A. Electricity generation sector

According to Gomez-Exposito et al. (2018), electricity is known as a secondary source of energy, and it cannot be mined like any other resource. Electricity power is derived from natural gas, coal, wind, sunlight, nuclear fission reactions and hydropower (Americangeosciences, 2019). According to Momoh (2017), electricity has a wide range of complex application, versatile in nature and also plays an important role in American life. The supply and demand for electricity are often examined with the primary resource it has been produced. 

Figure 2: Energy source used to generate electricity in the US in 2015

(Source: Needtoknow, 2019)

As per the report of EIA (Energy Information Administration) in the US, there is 11% increase in the generation of electricity has been observed between 2015 and in 2040 that contributes nearly 0.4% per year. This, in turn, reflects that there is a demand for gas and coal in the near future. For producing electricity, the electricity generating plants nearly consumes 35% of natural gas and landfill gas. This, in turn, has an adverse impact on producing pollutants and greenhouse gases. As per the report of EIA total energy electricity energy used by the power plants from the key sources of geothermal, wind and solar has estimated to reach 28% by the end of 2040.

b. Heating/cooling sector

This technology allows the user to control the indoor climate and one among the largest energy consumption source in the source. In 2011 nearly 48% more efficient equipment’s was installed with better insulation walls and windows.

Figure 3: Energy usage in US residential sector in 2015

(Source: Needtoknow, 2019)

In the upcoming 25 years, it is estimated by the US EIA that residential and commercial buildings will consume 0.4% per year. The residential energy use in the year 2040 is projected lower in 2015, which has also expected to increase by nearly about 12% in future. Energy usage in case of the commercial sector is also expected to rise by 0.5% per year. This technology will be a greater demand in the near future with the rise of water heating, office equipment and ventilation. 

C. Transportation sector

The United States uses nearly 28% of its total energy in a year for moving goods and people from one place to another (Eia, 2019). This sector includes many modes of transportation and vehicles like personal vehicles, buses, trains, large trucks to aeroplanes, pipelines, ships and barges. At current situation largest share of energy consumption is utilised by light trucks, motorcycles and cars that contribute nearly 58% in the year of 2013, followed by aircraft 8%, trucks 23%, trains and buses 3%, boats and ships contribute 4%, and the pipelines account 4%.

Approximately 92% of the energy used in the transportation sector comes from diesel fuel and gasoline. According to Tutak et al. (2017), annually combustion of gasoline, powering engines and consumption of diesel fuel emits huge volume of particulate matter, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, unburned hydrocarbons and smog to the environment.

Figure: carbon dioxide emission per capita

(Source: Houghton, 2009)

On an average, the US citizen is responsible for the release of 26tonne of carbon dioxide in each year from all aspects of life like from schools, homes, transports, factories, shops, hospitals and offices (Dower and Williams, 2016). The emission of carbon dioxide gas has an adverse impact on worldwide climate change. This insight, in turn, helps in identifying different areas where technical improvement must need to be undertaken while indicating the priorities and that must be assigned to the measures. According to Laurenzi et al. (2016), as an alternative to fuel, tight oil produced from the alternative geological source has been added to conventional petroleum deposit. This oil from low permeable geological formation is added as an appreciable method to nations supply to transportation fuel. This oil too cannot solve the environmental issues in association with burning fossil fuels.

There is an option for transitioning towards 100% sustainable energy from transportation sector with replacing biofuel with petroleum in the US. It is one of the cheaply available options for the nation and provided nearly 4.9% fuel in 2015.

3. Current Characteristics of Its Electricity Grid, And Opportunities for Decentralised and/or Smart Grid Technologies

Grid technology in the US

Grid technology is a network that connects electricity producer to the consumers (Habib et al. 2015). Grid technology has its boundary to include high power transmission wires, electricity generators, end-users like business and homes, distribution wires of low power can be used, which impacts on the electricity transactions. This Grid technology impacts on US market structure and regulatory body. The grid technology can be known as a physical infrastructure that transmits electricity to the whole nation (Ncsl, 2019). It is also considered as an economic entity which responds demand and supply gap through communicated prices.

Smart Grid technology in the US

Smart Grid technology is one of the smart and complex network infrastructures that transfers electricity from the power plant to the end-users. There are more than 19000 sources are available using smart grid technology in the US and provides nearly 1 trillion watts of power to the users over 450000 distribution lines. The smart grid technology takes advantage of remote sensing, automated analysis and control and real-time monitoring capacity that promotes huge efficiency gain in American society. The power grid technology provides interruption costing of $150 billion per year and also vulnerable to the power outage.

4. Economics of Its Energy System and The Economic Feasibility of Transitioning to A 100% Sustainable Energy System

Kennedy et al. (2015) have stated that arriving at an optimal mix of vehicle types is much complicated and especially in the case of finding cost-effectiveness solution. It is because the vehicles that are designed for different fuels will become different employee engines, maintenance procedures and associated technologies. According to Healy and Barry (2017), transitioning to the new energy system requires its own distinctive fuel delivery system. As a part of maintaining sustainability, hydrogen filling stations installation can be a better option for the nation whereas that entails novel technologies. In order to improvise the current energy consumption system of electricity, the nation requires the enhancement and expansion of the electric transmission system (Nayyar, 2017). It requires the addition of more power lines in the system which is not economically feasible for a developed nation. However, the nation can create environmental friendly nature with the implementation of this system.  

According to Randolph and Masters (2018), replacement of petroleum with Biofuels, Corn ethanol, tight oil will be economically feasible for the nation. Transitioning to 100% feasible, sustainable energy system in the US for transportation purpose will lead to less consumption of fuel and cleans the environment. Replacement of petroleum with the introduction of an electric vehicle, hybrids, natural gas, and vehicle-powered by hydrogen shares the common goal of reducing dependence on the oil.

According to Van Der Kam and van Sark (2015), grid technology follows the highly centralised architecture, and this has failed to keep pace with the increasing power consumption demand. Another limitation of this technology is that it has a limited ability to track further developments as they occur. The smart grid technology combines automated switching, wireless communication, and integrated internet that deliver intermittent power sources like photovoltaic generators and wind energy. This is much cost-effective to the nation as a proportion to the investment in it.  

5. Conclusion

From the above analysis, it can be concluded that the best strategy for fulfilling energy demand and consumption is to replace it with energy-efficient devices and vehicles. With the revision of Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard in 2007 made more stringent towards energy consumption. There is no doubt that fuel consumption and it is economy requirements are going to increase annually between 2012 and 2025. Transitioning towards various sustainable energy while introducing new techniques power emission will lead to attaining 100% sustainable energy. Analysis of the national energy system provides an insight into the effectiveness and efficient usage of natural resources of the society and balance factors like efficiency and economics.

Energy is driving world economies forward and it is required to switch to sustainable sources of energy for economic development without drastic environmental consequences. Due to the immense effect of climate change, it is necessary to get valuable insight from the environmental disasters that excessive and inefficient use of fossil fuel has caused. This insight, in turn, helps in identifying different areas where technical improvement must need to be undertaken while indicating the priorities and that must be assigned to the measures. Energy efficiency and renewable energy have significant importance for the future generation. Taking the country USA into consideration, a key concept has been developed in this work that incorporates a clean energy system into the current energy system.


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