Current projections of thermal energy are based almost exclusively on extrapolation from the past. This is especially true for electric power generation. From the information available, it is not possible to determine, on a worldwide basis, the rate of increase of electrical power as distinguished from the total energy used. For this reason, the worldwide rate of increase is examined for the periods 1957 to 1967 and 1964 to 1967. For the United States, two cases illustrate the potential magnitude of the waste heat problem. In both cases, electrical power comprises approximately 25 percent of the total energy used. By including waste heat from the generating plants, the electrical growth can be projected at 8 percent per year. Approximately 15-20 percent of the heat energy will go into the atmosphere through the evaporation-latent heat route in 1970. This will increase to 30 percent by the year 2000, reflecting the more rapid growth of electrical capacity as projected.
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