Last updated on: 9/23/2020 | Author: ProCon.org

Did You Know?

1.In 2019, renewable energy sources accounted for 11.44% of the United States' total energy consumption. Biomass was the most used renewable (4.98%), followed by wind (2.73%), hydroelectric (2.49%), solar (1.04%), and geothermal (0.21%). [1]
2.In 2019, fossil fuel energy sources accounted for 80% of the United States' total energy consumption. Natural gas was the most used fossil fuel (32.04%), followed by coal (11.30%) and petroleum (3.67%). [1]
3.In 2019, nuclear energy accounted for 8.45% of the United States' total energy consumption. [1]
4.Solar energy powered the first satellite launched into orbit by the US in 1958. [2]
5.The first demonstration of electricity generation from a solar cell took place in 1876, and the first windmill to generate electricity was built in 1888. [3] [3]
Click for an Encyclopaedia Britannica video about solar-powered artificial wings.
6.The first demonstration of electricity generation from a solar cell took place in 1876, and the first windmill to generate electricity was built in 1888. [3] [3]
7.In Dec. of 2008 the worst coal ash spill in US history took place, spilling 1.3 million cubic meters of sludge into a valley in Tennessee. The waste contained arsenic, lead, chromium, manganese, and barium. [5]
8.In Apr. 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported overall electricity use had dropped around 15% as factories and other businesses closed temporarily. [6]
9.The Chinese were the first to use coal as an energy source as early as 2000 BC. The country was also the first to develop natural gas as an energy source, dating to 200 BC, and to refine petroleum (oil), dating to the 1st century. [7] [8] [9]
10.The first natural gas well in the United States was drilled in Fredonia, New York, by William Hart. [10]
Click for an Encyclopaedia Britannica video about Ethiopia’s untapped geothermal and hydroelectric power resources.
11.In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln enacted an ethanol fuel tax to help finance the Civil War, crippling the industry. The tax was lifted in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt in order to provide a competitor to Big Oil. [11]
12.On Sep. 4, 1882, Thomas Edison flipped the power switch on the first electric plant in New York. The plant served a square-mile area that included the Stock Exchange and large newspapers. [12]
13.The Oil Pollution Act of 1924 was the first US federal law to control pollution by the oil industry by regulating fuel dumped at sea by oil-burning vessels. [13]
14.The first nuclear power reactor to generate electricity was built in Idaho on Dec. 20, 1951 at Argonne National Laboratory. The reactor could barely power a string of four, 100-watt light bulbs. [14]
15.The US Department of Energy was created on Oct. 1, 1977, after President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act on Aug. 4, 1977. [15]
Click for an Encyclopaedia Britannica video about efforts to create energy from waves.

Sources:

1. US Energy Information Administration, “Primary Energy Consumption by Source,” eia.gov, July 2020
2. John Perlin, "The History of Solar Energy," www.californiasolarcenter.org (accessed May 19, 2009)
3. Scientific American, "Mr. Brush's Windmill Dynamo," Dec. 20, 1890
4. American Petroleum Institute, “There’s a Lot of Life in a Barrel of Oil,” api.org, 2006
5.National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) "Coal Ash Spill, Tennessee," www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov (accessed July 22, 2009)
6.International Energy Agency, "COVID-19," iea.org (accessed Apr. 15, 2020)
7.Richard Heinberg, MA The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, 2005
8.Energy Information Administration (EIA) "History of Energy in the United States: 1635-2000," www.eia.doe.gov (accessed May 20, 2009)
9.Lidian Chen "China's Petroleum Industry," www.worldenergysource.com (accessed July 21, 2009)
10.Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) "History," www.naturalgas.org (accessed June 16, 2009)
11.David Morris, PhD "West Wing's Ethanol Problem," www.alternet.org, Feb. 2, 2005
12.Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) "Edison's Miracle of Light: The Film & More - Program Description," www.pbs.org (accessed July 27, 2009)
13.Martin V. Melosi, PhD "Energy and Environment in the United States: The Era of Fossil Fuels," Environmental Review, Fall 1987
14.Argonne National Laboratory "Early Argonne Reactor Lit the Future of the Nuclear Power Industry," www.anl.gov (accessed May 27, 2009)
15.United States Department of Energy (DOE) "Fossil Energy: Our History," www.fossil.energy.gov (accessed May 7, 2009)