When buying food from the grocery store, we read food labels to know about ingredients, nutrition and calories. Similarly, we should also know what our electricity suppliers are using to produce electricity with details of the mix of fuels used to produce the electricity supplied to them.
Since October 2005, it has been mandatory in the UK for all electricity suppliers to label their products with the fuels used to generate electricity, carbon emissions and nuclear waste produced. There is no single source of fuel for electricity generation. That’s why energy companies use a number of fuels, known as a fuel mix, to produce energy. With the fuel mix, companies are also showing their carbon emission rates and levels of nuclear waste produced.
The national fuel mix for US is shown in the table below:
Source: EIA, Annual Energy Review, October 2011.
It shows the share of supply generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewable and other energy sources.
Using energy more resourcefully through more efficient products or through more efficient generation reduces the amount of fuel required to produce a unit of energy output, which reduces emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Electricity produced from renewable resources such as solar, geothermal and wind technologies generally do not contribute to climate change or local air pollution since no fuels are combusted in these processes.
A simple info-graphic that shows what renewable energy sources is the world using.
A diverse mix of fuel is used across United States to generate electricity. Several factors affect an electric company’s choice to use particular fuels. These include the price and the availability of supply. However, to lower carbon emissions, the fuel mix should have a good amount of renewable energy sources. These sources are fuels that can be naturally replenished. Hydropower is our nation’s most prevalent renewable resource, providing 5.9 percent of total U.S. electricity supply. Non-hydro renewable energy sources—such as solar power, wind, geothermal, and biomass—now generate 3 percent of the supply.
As a responsible citizen, you should know about the fuel mix and should be promoting renewable energy resources. Promoting renewable energy resources will help expand the use of renewables as part of our nation’s diverse fuel mix and reliable electricity supply.
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