This is how much energy the United States was using from 2002 to 2006. Notice that solar is 0.1%. Nuclear increase from 2002 to 2006 was equal to the total amount of all solar power. (even though that was just operating efficiency and some small nuclear uprates).
Oil and fossil fuel usage was increasing. Petroleum (oil) was the primary source. 21 million barrels per day or about 7.4 billion barrels per year.
Twenty times as much solar power as there was in 2006 would be 1.2 quads. It would be nice but 5% of the coal usage. Increasing wind by ten times 2006 would be 2.6 quads. Combined it would be equal to about what one would expect to be the business as usual increase in energy consumption. All of the old coal and oil would stay in place.
The California million roof plan is subsidies of $2.9 billion and the hope is to get 3GW of solar power installed by 2018. These kind of programs are not good energy investments because the same investment could buy more nuclear power, wind power or pay for the research for more efficient and effective solar or other energy. A Berkeley study shows that solar installations do not pay back their investment.
Biomass has a more significant share.
France was able to achieve over 30% energy from nuclear (80% of electricity) [4.4 quads out of 11.4 quads).
Any reasonable energy plan has to look at still obtaining and using oil for the next ten to twenty years. This means enhanced oil recovery and new oil sources (such as the Bakken Formation) and new natural gas sources.
Even drilling oil from profitable reserves takes time. US drilling activity in 2007
Making our homes and houses more energy efficient. Heating, insulation and appliances need to be addressed more aggressively.
New technology for uprating nuclear power plants can add 50% more power to existing reactors within 10 years. Regular nuclear power uprates will be adding 4% to nuclear reactor in France and 2% to US reactors over the next 6 years. New nuclear plants are being constructed and could add 150-250 GW worldwide by 2020.
Short term: conservation and drilling for more oil, enhancing oil recovery, uprate nuclear power, develop and deploy more efficient thermoelectric processes and technology, ecomod existing the fraction of the 800 million existing cars and trucks with a lot of highway travel (make them more aerodynamic with a focus on those that drive on the highway the most.), increase industrial and home efficiency. Adopt policies that shift energy away from coal and oil.
Mid-term (2012-2020) signficant nuclear power and efficiency technology could be brought into play. The privately funded nuclear “battery” (Hyperion Uranium hydride reactor) could be developed and placed into fairly high production (50 per year would be equal to one large nuclear plant
By 2015 Iris reactor and/or the Modular Helium Reactor could provide greater fuel and energy effiency and lower costs.
Refineries operated at 82.2 percent of capacity in the week ended March 21, the lowest since October 2005, the department said last week. Total implied US fuel demand averaged 20.3 million barrels a day in the four weeks ended March 21, down 2.2 percent [440,000 barrels per day, 0.8 quads which is more than the power from wind and solar from some demand destruction caused by higher prices] from a year earlier, the Energy Department said last week. Fighting between government forces and militiamen in Iraq eased after a truce offer from Moqtada al-Sadr. Iraq has the world’s third biggest oil reserves, according to BP Plc.
Electric cars using a cellphone like billing service model could be dominant in countries like Isreal and Denmark within ten years. Smaller countries, islands (Hawaii, Singapore, some Japanese islands) and city regions with smaller service areas and higher gasoline prices and car taxes are most suitable for the new model.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.