Energy Matters Index

(with apologies to Harper’s Index)

Current total number of U.S. jobs in the fossil fuel industries (coal, oil, gas): 200,000

Current total number of U.S. jobs in the solar and wind power: 450,000

Potential number in the wind and solar as fossil energy is phased out: 1,000,000+

Annual sustainable energy from one acre of corn ethanol: 3.1 MWh (140 gallons)

Annual sustainable energy from one acre of trees: 6 MWh (1 cord)

Annual sustainable energy from one acre of wind power: 200 MWh

Annual sustainable energy from one acre of photovoltaics: 800MWh

Miles that an acre of corn ethanol could move a typical small SUV in a year: 2,500

Miles that an acre of photovoltaics could move an electric car in a year: 2,000,000

Minimum acres of farmland to supply biofuel to one jumbo jet for a year: 65,000 (100 sq.mi.)

Median grams of CO2 produced per kilowatt-hour of electricity at a coal fired power plant: 950

At a natural gas fired plant: 450

By a solar panel (Including its embodied energy): 45

By a wind turbine (Including its embodied energy): 12

By a nuclear power plant: 12

Manufacturing cost for a 350 watt solar panel in 1976: $37,000

In 2000: $1700

In 2010: $730

In 2020: $135

Levelized cost per kilowatt-hour from industrial scale wind turbines in 2010: $0.09

In 2020: $0.05

Levelized cost per kilowatt-hour fromSolar PV in 2010: $0.38

In 2020: $0.07

Levelized cost per kilowatt-hour from coal in 2010: $0.11

In 2020: $0.11

Cost per kilowatt-hour of a typical backyard wind turbine (averaged over 30 years) $0.60

Number of birds killed annually in the U.S. by wind turbines: 300 thousand

By cars and trucks: 200 million

By collisions with buildings and windows: 1 billion

By domestic cats: 2.4 billion

Energy saved in a year if you unplug your cell phone charger when not in use: 3.6 kWh ($0.65)

If you unplug your microwave oven when not in use 9.1 kWh ($1.40)

If you turn off your computer/printer powerstrip when not in use: 36.5 kWh ($5.50)

If you cut daily shower usage in half:  220 kWh ($33)

If you change your 5 most-used light bulbs from 75W incandescent to LED: 240 kWh ($36)

If you use cold water in washing machine  (assuming 3-4 loads per week): 550 kWh ($83)

If you hang clothes instead of using the dryer: (3-4 loads per week) 730 kWh ($110)

Percentage by which a Mainer’s CO2 footprint is reduced if they do all these things: 5%

Amount by which CO2 emission rate will be reduced by carbon pricing alone: 40% by 2050

With other policy incentives (electrification and efficiency): 54% by 2050

All of the above numbers are approximate, but the comparisons are fair.

Paul Stancioff, PhD., is a retired professor of physics at the University of Maine Farmington who dabbles in energy economics on the side. Cynthia Stancioff advocates for climate action and continually revises her and others’ prose. Their emails are [email protected] and [email protected] . Previous columns can be found at https://paulandcynthiaenergymatters.blogspot.com/.

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