Human civilization as we know it today is built upon access to energy as is a prime factor for human well being, economic development and the reduction of poverty. However, the actual pervasive impact of how energy is used to literally "build" everything within our society is often overlooked by many people.
In 2017, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, our world was consuming about 153,595 Terrawatt hours of energy. A Terrawatt hour of energy is 1,000,000,000 kilowatt hours. Currently, 87.15% of this energy is supplied from greenhouse gas producing sources including
- 35.0% from crude oil,
- 28.3% from coal, and
- 23.9% from natural gas.
The remaining 12.85% of the energy used in our world is divided as following:
- 7.10% comes from burning wood and bio-matter,
- 2.64% from hydro (water) power, and the remaining
- 3.11% coming from wind, solar, and other forms of alternative energy combined.
The amount of energy that we are using is staggering and the numbers are almost incomprehensible and make it seem that a sustainable future is not possible. However, the truth is that we can all make simple changes as individuals, as small business owners, as corporate leaders and as government officials. Many changes can be made quickly while others must be adopted over the next decade to ensure a great future for ourselves and our children.
The first change is to realize that every watt counts! Reducing the power consumption of a device that is on all the time by only 1 watt saves a total of 8,760 Watt-hours in a year! This is enough energy to drive an electric car 43.1 km!
In 2017, a typical car in the US is driven an average of 21,687km. If you can influence decisions which can reduce power consumption an average of 503W, you are saving enough energy to power an electric vehicle for a year.
In this series of articles, I will provide insights and practical things that individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and all levels of government can do to build a sustainable future over the next decade.