Climate of Energy

By: Ryan Wolfe / December 27, 2018

Global-warmingAmong the never ending list of topics to debate throughout the world, one of the hottest topics might just be global warming.  Pun intended! 

With occasional December temperatures in the low 50°F here in Pittsburgh, PA, it is difficult to ignore a seemingly warmer climate. At the very least a seasonal delay.  84% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions come from fossil fuels. There has no doubt been a large push towards cleaner energy with less emissions in all different sectors. To put some info into basic terms: If the global temperature increases 1.8°F, we will naturally see an increase for cooling demands by as much as 20%. This would be a great opportunity for electricity companies worldwide, but not so good for the oil and gas industry at first glance. While a global warming would no doubt stimulate the cooling markets, there would also be a drop off in the heating industry. Some say as much as 3-15%. The transportation industry would likely be unchanged.

With warmer climates abound, water and energy have a close relationship that may be easy to overlook. Power plants certainly call on high volumes of water for cooling resources. Throughout the energy process, one kilowatt-hour typically uses about 25 gallons of water pulled from nearby rivers and lakes. In other words, that is enough energy to power a window mounted air conditioner for approximately 1 hour. The stress with these type of power plants, are the heat cycles in each area. The hotter it is outside, the more electricity that will need to be used, which means more water consumption.   What happens when the heat is stronger that the water supply?  It is easy to see why there is such a competition for water between different industries.

Bio fuel has a great chance to gain in the clean energy spectrum, but at what cost?  Power plants and bio plants are typically set in similar geographic locations. Each has a strong demand on water for clear reasons. Who gets the nod on the water usage?  Both are considered to be clean energy! Combine that with the higher temperatures leading to evaporation, and we have a quiet energy conundrum on our hands. One of the ideas for resolving the fresh water supply concern is desalinization.  While these plants are able to convert salt water to fresh water, they are far from efficient and consume a lot of energy created by hydro and bio plants alike.  

Sources:

https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-energy_.html


Categories: climate, power plants, bio fuels


Ryan Wolfe

Written by

Ryan Wolfe


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