April 9, 2012

Energy: Part One

In part one of our series, we look at energy use in the U.S.

Shelby: It lights our cities, heats our homes, gets us around and keeps us connected. Energy powers our lives. And we use a lot of it here in the United States. With just 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. consumes about 20% of the world’s energy. And get this: the average American uses about four times as much energy than the average person worldwide. So, where is all of that energy going? Thirty-one percent of the energy in the U.S. is used for industrial purposes, things like manufacturing, construction and agriculture. Twenty-eight percent is used for transportation; fuel for vehicles, boats and even airplanes. Twenty-three percent is used for residential purposes, things like heating, lighting and refrigeration. And twenty-one percent is used commercially for things like hotels, malls, restaurants and offices.

A lot of the energy we use comes in the form of electricity. It is delivered to us by transmission lines that are connected to a network of power highways called the grid. The grid manages the flow of electricity across the United States. There are more than 150,000 miles of transmission lines that stretch across the U.S., and they carry power from various sources into your home. So, what are those sources? Well, we took a power trip across the country to find out.

From wells in New York to turbines in Texas, we stopped at all kinds of places where power is generated.

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking you along on our power trip to give you a closer look at oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power and renewable sources like wind and solar power. And we will also show you that while all of this energy can light up our lives, it also has a dark side. Not only does energy cost money, but it has limits and it can come at the expense of our environment. And some say, our nation’s security.

And finding solutions to the energy crisis is crucial since it seems nothing will satisfy our hunger for power. Energy use in this country is expected to jump another 13% or more over the next twenty years.

Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.


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