Articles Renewable Energy: Current and Potential Issues DAVID PIMENTEL, MEGAN HERZ, MICHELE GLICKSTEIN, MATHEW ZIMMERMAN, RICHARD ALLEN, KATRINA BECKER, JEFF EVANS, BENITA HUSSAIN, RYAN SARSFELD,ANAT GROSFELD, AND THOMAS SEIDEL he United States faces energy shortages and in- creasing energy prices within the next few decades (Dun- RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES can 2001). Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and other mined COULD, IF DEVELOPED AND fuels provide 75% of US electricity and 93% of other US energy needs (USBC 2001). On average, every year each IMPLEMENTED, PROVIDE NEARLY 50% OF American uses about 93,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), equiv- alent to 8000 liters of oil, for all purposes, including trans- US ENERGY NEEDS; THIS WOULD REQUIRE portation, heating, and cooling (USBC 2001). About 12 kWh (one liter of gasoline) costs as much as $0.50, and this ABOUT 17% OF US LAND RESOURCES cost is projected to increase significantly in the next decade (Schumer 2001). tems, biomass, wind power, solar thermal systems, photovoltaic The United States, having consumed from 82% to 88% of systems, passive energy systems, geothermal systems, biogas, its proved oil reserves (API 1999), now imports more than ethanol, methanol, and vegetable oil. In this article, we assess 60% of its oil at
BioScience – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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