The United States has a voracious appetite for power. Electric power, that is. We use incredible amounts of electricity to power our lives, giving us everything from our morning coffee to our heated blankets at night. The sources of our electric power vary, from coal to petroleum to solar and to others, but it is not enough as demand increases every year. People are often surprised to learn just how much power is used to generate other power. Some of the biggest users are listed here, but note how many of them overlap.
- Chemicals – Fertilizers and pesticides are among the main processed-chemicals that require huge amounts of power to produce and transport.
- Petroleum – The U.S. refines nearly a quarter of all the world’s crude oil at nearly 150 refineries across the country, and these refineries consume incredible amounts of power.
- Paper Industry – The United States would be lost without paper products, and is the world’s leading producer of paper, another industry that is energy-intensive.
- All that Glitters – All that glitters may not be gold, but America is one of the global leaders in the production of cast-metal, the industry that brings us such life-staples as cookware and faux Christmas trees.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles. . . – . . .and trucks and buses and ships, et.al. The transportation industry uses more than 25% of all the energy produced in the country, and waning supplies of fossil fuels have necessitated an accelerated changeover to alternative fuel sources, including electricity.
- Heating, Ventilation and Cooling – The heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) industry used to involve nothing more than fireplaces, blocks of ice and strategically placed doors, windows and porches, but today’s industry requires large amounts of power on a national scale.
- Appliances – We like our clothes kept clean, and we like our food kept cold until we cook it in our self-cleaning ovens, and the appliances we use to attain these goals use up a lot of power to make and to use.
- Electronics – Televisions, computers, track-lights, alarm systems and hundreds of other devices fill our domestic world, and every blinking little red light means power is being used.
- Commercial Buildings – A store or warehouse uses a lot of electricity whether it is open or not, and most other commercial buildings require significant amounts of power to heat, cool and secure.
- Construction Industry – Even during construction slowdowns the industry consumes power at a great rate, and industry up-ticks use even more power as more projects are generated.
Electric energy is generated from many sources, and it is our responsibility to generate that power in the most socially conscious manner.