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April 21, 2008

Sources of Energy

Energy use is one of the top national issues, and it's likely to be with us for a long time. But before we know where we want to go, we need to know where we are. So where are we today with energy consumption? Listen

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"If you look at all energy use, and then break it down as where does that energy originate from, here are the numbers. Oil represents about 40 percent of our energy use, followed by coal and natural gas. They each contribute 22 percent, nuclear about 8 percent and renewables about 8 percent. Now, there are issues with all of these. Of course, the big issue with oil is that it is increasingly a foreign source. There is also the pollution aspect. Coal has the benefit of being very plentiful here in the U.S., but it is also highly polluting. Natural gas has a low pollution effect, and there is also a big domestic source, but as use grows, we are going to rely more on imports. And of course, with nuclear there is the fear and the issue of waste disposal. Now, some people will say I didn't mention electricity, isn't that an energy source? Well, it's obviously a way we use energy, but electricity is generated from one of the sources I just mentioned. It's not a prime energy source. And one of the issues, I should say, one of the economic issues with electricity is that it's difficult to store. So all of these are big issues, and I think we need to realize them before we go on and talk about changing how we use energy."

Posted by Dave at April 21, 2008 08:12 AM