TABLE 1 Comparison of Energy Sources

Source

EJa/yr today

Reservesa

Use of other resources

Waste

Comments

Oil / natural gas liquidsb

140

> 6 ZJ

 

CO2 and other emissions

Not considered sustainable

Natural gas

85

> 5 ZJ

 

CO2 and other emissions

Not considered sustainable

Coal

90

30 ZJ

Land = moderate (mines)

CO2 and other emissions

Reserves greater than oil or gas, but much less than fission

 

 

 

Construction = 0.7c

 

Biomass

55

Up to 270 EJ/yr sustainable

Land = high

Particulates and other emissions

R&D may help somewhat

Nuclear fission

28

> 600 ZJ

Land = low

Long life

Small waste volume

 

 

 

Construction = 0.7

Repository space Proliferation

Space is political issue, not technical

Hydroelectric power

9

30 EJ/yr sustainable

Land = high (lakes)

 

Inherently small role

Solar energy

Small

 

Land = high

 

R&D may help somewhat

 

 

 

Construction = 30−80

 

 

Wind

Small

 

Land = high

 

Inherently diffuse source

 

 

 

Construction = 5−15

 

 

Geothermal energy

Small

<100 EJ/yr sustainable

 

 

 

Nuclear fusion

0

Enormous

 

 

Not yet demonstrated

 

a  

EJ = exaJoule = 1018 J; ZJ = zettaJoule = 1021 J.

b  

This does not include larger known reserves of oil shale, which is difficult and not cost effective to use with present methods.

c  

Construction number = approximate number of operation-months required to replace the energy used in construction; this is one measure of the intensity of use of other resources. Data from AWEA, 1998.



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