In the previous three posts, I have analyzed energy consumption per capita, energy consumption per unit of State GDP, and consumption of energy produced from coal and from renewables. I have made this analysis for Missouri and for the surrounding states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas. As part of these posts, I have said that, because emissions from power plants burning fossil fuel to create energy are a principle cause of climate change, acid rain, air pollution, and mercury contamination, it is essential that we either reduce our consumption of energy, or we transition away from the use of fossil fuel, especially coal, to renewable energy.
I do not see signs that we are making good progress. Overall energy consumption has increased in all 5 states. Each individual’s consumption of energy (per capita basis) has significantly increased in some states, held roughly steady in some states, or slightly declined in some states. Considering the states as a group, there is NO strong trend towards decreasing per capita energy consumption!
Since 1997 the amount of energy required to produce a unit of State GDP has declined. That’s good, but the increase in GDP in all of the states has overwhelmed the effect of greater efficiency, resulting in increased consumption overall. This is like buying stuff on sale. The lower price is no doubt good, but we are buying so much more stuff that we are blowing our budget! And we will pay the price.
Four out of the five states have made progress transitioning from coal energy to renewable energy. But in only one, Iowa, is the progress really significant. In Iowa, the consumption of energy from renewables has soared: almost one unit of energy from renewables is consumed for every unit of energy from coal. But in each of the 4 other states, progress is slow; renewable energy consumption is still dwarfed by coal.
For Missouri, our per capita energy consumption has increased since 1980 from 289 to 314 trillion Btu per person. Energy consumption per dollar of State GDP has declined by 9.3% from 8.13 to 7.37 thousand Btu per dollar. However, our State GDP has increased, and total energy consumption has increased from 1,422.9 to 1,857 trillion Btu, a 30.5% increase. The ratio of energy from renewables to energy from coal almost tripled, from 4.7% to 11.7%. It is starting from such a small base, however, that the increase is not meaningful, and we still consume more than 7 units of coal energy for every unit of renewable energy. This is the worst ratio of any of the 5 states.
In this 4-post series, data from the following data portals were used:
Missouri Energy Consumption, Clean Energy in My State, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/states/consumption.cfm?state=MO&dollars=0#tecpd.
State Energy Data System (SEDS), U.S. Department of Energy. This is a data portal. Select Consumption Statistics, then Sector, Total end-use. Data downloaded 6/14/2016 from http://www.eia.gov/state/seds/seds-data-complete.cfm?sid=IL#Consumption.
Real GDP by State (millions of chained 2009 dollars), GDP & Personal Income, Regional Data, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Data downloaded 6/14/2016 from http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?reqid=70&step=1&isuri=1&acrdn=2#reqid=70&step=10&isuri=1&7003=900&7035=-1&7004=naics&7005=-1&7006=05000,17000,19000,20000,29000&7036=-1&7001=1900&7002=1&7090=70&7007=-1&7093=levels.