Energy Generation Research Paper

Submitted By Ziggy1980
Words: 3579
Pages: 15

Team Paper Rough Draft 25 April 2010

Energy Generation / Use in World Economies


There is no question that energy is the engine that drives every economy in the world. The primary players that have achieved “Developed Nation” status are relatively few however. Most of the nations that have this title are ones that emerged in the years and decades after fighting World War II. Most of these nations had their entire infrastructure devastated by years of warfare, with the exception of the United States and Canada. The primary countries that were rebuilt after the war, with huge commitments from the United States as well as international help, are Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. These countries, along with the U.S. and Canada, are great industrial powers with large economies. They combine to be by far the largest consumers of energy in the world, therefore having the highest living standards. Just as the twentieth century saw the rise of North American and European dominance in the world economy, the twenty first century is likely to see China be the dominant force. Consider that China has the largest block of population in the world, and is emerging at a rapid pace to grow its energy production and industrial might, they are poised to surpass the United States and Europe in years ahead, not as a result of U.S. and European decline, but because of China’s recent economic policy changes. One continent that could benefit the most from energy development and economic prosperity, and that is Africa. Currently, Africa’s population stands at about one billion, with the largest increases in the poorest countries that are the least able to support them. This makes them most prone to conflicts and corruption. By having economic stability, which begins with developing an energy infrastructure, Africa could begin to break free of cycle of chronic poverty. This would however, require a global effort as well as a commitment of African leaders to see this through. It would be monumental, but would certainly be in the world’s best interest. This could be fertile ground for renewable energy development. We will explore an example of each of the three types of world economies, Developed, Emerging, and Underdeveloped, and their role in future energy production and usage. Developed Nation / U.S. The United States is one of the most industrialized nations in the world and has the highest standard of living. With that standard, comes an insatiable appetite for energy. The U.S. currently has about 5% of the world’s population, however we consume over one quarter of the world’s energy. A large part of that energy is from oil. The Energy Information Administration’s 2008 Annual Energy review shows that most of that oil goes to power the transportation sector at 71%. This is followed by industrial, 23% residential and commercial, 5%, and electric power at1%.(pg. 37) The United States imports over 70% of it’s oil, with it’s primary suppliers being Canada and Saudi Arabia. Canada is the U.S.’s largest supplier of foreign energy, including oil, natural gas, uranium and electric power. The U.S. has been in a struggle for years now to wean itself off of foreign oil imports for reasons of energy independence, and national security, particularly since such a big chunk of it comes from not so friendly regions of the world. One energy source that the U.S. has an abundance of, is coal. It is estimated that about one quarter of the worlds coal reserves are found in the United States. Historically coal production has usually slightly surpassed consumption. From the 1960’s on, most of the coal produced was used to generate electricity. As of 2008, 93% of coal produced was used to generate electricity. Coal is a relatively inexpensive source for electricity, but of more concern than