Energy Demand and Its Effect on the Environment

by Deane N. Morris

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Discusses causes and effects of the ever-increasing demand for energy. New demand in California alone this year equals three Hoover Dams. Electricity forms 9 percent of energy used in the United States, petroleum 46 percent, gas 33 percent, coal 11 percent; we consume a third of the world's annual output. Clean-burning fuels are in short supply. Powerplant requirements are staggering in land, environmental damage, and capital. We have no safe method for storing or disposing of nuclear wastes — and plan 800 nuclear powerplants. Extent and causes of the demand increase are analyzed, and demand-reducing policies discussed. So much electricity is generated by burning gas — over 50 percent, in California — that substituting gas in home uses, plus improved insulation and using solar energy, might not increase total gas usage and could cut the annual growth in electricity demand to 3 percent. However, many local electricity crises are expected in the next decade. (Presented before three university classes and three conferences, March-June 1973.) (See also P-4759, P-4992, P-5016, P-5017.)

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