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Cost of Electricity & Air Emissions from Systems Part 1:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by William G. Acker

[ part 1 ] [ part 2 ]
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Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Impact on U.S. Energy Prices. The international effort to halt global warming may send energy prices soaring.

Over the past 12 months, crude-oil prices have surged to the highest level since the Persian Gulf War, proving once again that we have very little control over a critical cornerstone of our economy: energy prices. The oil embargo of 1973 led to long lines at service stations, higher overall energy prices, double-digit inflation, and a general sense of panic. It's important to remember that the latest shortage, which tripled the price of a barrel of oil, occurred because OPEC cut oil production by only about 5 percent of world demand.

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The current international effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the burning of carbon fuels is going to have a significant impact on the price of energy in the U.S. and on our economy. In 1998, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Dept. of Energy released a study titled "Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Energy Markets and Economic Activity." The report details five different scenarios, the worse of which has coal prices increasing by over 800 percent in 10 years compared to a "reference case" which assumes no changes in U.S. policy, law, or taxation regarding the coal industry. The EIA's worse-case scenario assumes that two significant policy changes will occur in the U.S. in next 10 years: Senate ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as the passage of a carbon tax, which is a fee designed to strongly discourage the use of fuels that produce CO2. The best-case scenario in the same study has coal prices increasing 152 percent by 2010.

If the Kyoto Protocol is ratified, the EIA maintains that the U.S. could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in other ways, besides slashing coal use: for example, international carbon trading with other countries; developing higher efficiency motors, as well as hybrid motors, which consume less fuel; and planting more trees.

While the EIA likes to discuss these alternate means of cutting greenhouse emissions, an analysis of U.S. fuel consumption trends reveals that it would be virtually impossible to achieve the reductions set forth by Kyoto without penalizing coal use.

The intent of this article is to provide the reader with some insight into future prices of coal, petroleum, natural gas, and electricity through 2020, with a focus on the possible outcome on fuel prices resulting from a concentrated effort to slash our carbon emissions. Since energy is used to produce most goods and services in this country, higher energy prices are a major concern to everyone. Decisions your company makes today should reflect the reality that energy prices are poised to change dramatically due to the restructuring of the U.S. electric-power industry and the worldwide commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The fact that coal prices may increase somewhere in the range of 150 to 800 percent in the next decade should be a consideration if your plant or facility, for example, plans to install a new coal-fired boiler in the near future.

Of course, reducing our use of coal will increase our dependency on other energy sources. What follows in this article (Part 1 of a 2-part series) is an analysis of our energy sources and what the impact of both electric utility restructuring and the Kyoto Protocol will be on each of them.

Energy Prices

U.S. Electric Power Industry

Average Revenue per Kilowatt-Hour for Existing Electric Utility Generation Systems The electric-power industry in the United States is composed of traditional electric utilities as well as power marketers and non-utility power producers. Currently, the industry is being restructured so that the three primary components of electric service—generation, transmission, and distribution— are separated. Instead of purchasing power from the local utility, consumers will be able to purchase from other generators across the U.S. Proposed legislation will deregulate the generation part of the industry; however, transmission and distribution utilities will continue to be controlled by state regulatory commissions. This section of the article will review the costs that makeup the total delivered cost of electricity (Busbar cost) for each generation system technology. The author chose to review total costs so that the data could be compared to data from the EIA (1998 Electric Power Annual, Vol. 1; 1997 Electric Power Annual, Vol. 2; Financial Statistics of Major U.S. Investorowned Electric Utilities, 1996; Electric Sales and Revenue, 1997; Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the U.S., 1998; and Annual Energy Outlook 2000).

Table 1 provides the electric utility costs to produce, transmit and distribute electricity to the customer with existing generation systems. The primary source of financial data in this table comes from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Form 1 manuals of low-cost utility providers. The data were then compared to government publications which summarize the data taken from the utilities FERC Form 1. The total Busbar cost or revenue per KWH from these existing systems tend to be lower because they are older systems with low depreciation and low long-term debt.

Kyoto Protocol or Not, Emission Reductions Likely in U.S.

Average Revenue per kWh for all sectors by state The average age of coal-fired systems in the U.S. is approximately 41 years, hydro is 54 years, oil steam is 31 years, natural gas is 30 years and nuclear is 18 years. The gas-turbine system represented in Table 1 would be a fairly young plant. The prices are 1997 costs per KWH. The low-cost producer in this table is hydroelectric at 4.72 cents per KWH followed by coal steam at 5.72 cents per KWH. Due to limited resources, hydroelectric power is not the predominant technology in the U.S. It is coal steam, which produces over 55 percent of our electricity. Due to upcoming environmental pressures, coal usage will decrease over the next 20 years. The degree to which it decreases is subject to debate. According to the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook, coal usage will continue to increase, but lose market share over the next two decades.

Table 2 is information taken from the EIA's "Electric Power Annual."Table 3 The average revenue in cents per KWH is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the corresponding KWH sales for each sector (residential, commercial, industrial, and other) and from all generation technologies in that state. To compare the Busbar cost of each technology, it was important to look at states that had high percentages of electricity generation for that technology. The numbers in the two tables seem to compare rather favorably to Table 1 data except for nuclear. After further review the author did find somewhat high costs from sales for resale that could be adding as much as a cent per KWH. According to data from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) on operations, maintenance and fuel, there is a 1.6 cent/KWH variation from low -cost plants to high-cost plants. At this point, it is difficult to say exactly how much of the added cost (2.8 to 3.50 cents per KWH) is from nuclear plants and how much might be from other technologies, sales for resale, and outside contracts.

Figure 1 is a map of the U.S., which illustrates the average revenue per KWH in all sectors by state for 1997 (also called retail price). These data were taken from EIA Form EIA861 "Annual Electric Utility Report". Table 3 provides a breakdown of the average retail price into an average price for residential, commercial, industrial and other. This table also provides the average 1996 price from each type of electric utility.

Many existing utility generation systems in the United States are fairly old and their construction costs already have been recovered. For this reason, it is important to look at the total revenue costs for new capacity as well. Table 4 illustrates the total revenue operating costs for new electric utility generating systems. For new capacity additions, the low capital cost and high operating efficiencies of natural-gas, combined-cycle gas turbine plants are the most economical. The total revenue (or operating costs) will be higher in new capacity additions verses existing capacity because of the capital recovery costs. You will note that the older, depreciated coal-steam generation systems produce electricity at 5.62 cents per KWH (Table 1) versus a newly installed natural gas combined cycle turbine at 5.72 cents per KWH (Table 4). Therefore, a low-cost utility would want to keep its older coal units running. However, as electric demand increases, requiring new construction, the preferred system is a natural gas combined cycle turbine.

Energy Prices

Hydroelectric systems were not included in Table 4 because, under current circumstances, hydroelectric generating capacity is expected to remain virtually unchanged due to water use priorities moving away from electricity generation and toward environmental improvement, such as fish, habitat preservation, and recreation (EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2000).

Information from the EIA on utility capacity additions also supports naturalgas turbines as the choice system. From 1996 to 2010, combined-cycle gas-turbine system installations are expected to grow from 15,200 to 90,100 MW, a 493- percent increase. Coal- steam systems, however, will only increase from 303,700 MW to 307,800 MW, a 1.35 percent increase (assuming no Kyoto Protocol). Coal system electric generators will increase their electricity output approximately 18 percent from existing systems by increasing their average utilization rate. Although, coal maintains its fuel cost advantage over both oil and natural gas, gas-fired generation is the most economical choice for construction of new power-generation units when capital, operating and fuel costs are considered. Another reason for the slow-down in coal-fired installations may be the upcoming environmental pressures. The biggest challenge for coal fired utilities is facing the regulatory uncertainty.

The impact of future compliance costs to handle particulate, SO2, SO3, lead, mercury, and arsenic eventually will result in higher electricity costs from coal-steam systems. The total operating maintenance and capital recovery cost of a flue gas desulfurization system is around 0.5 cents per KWH. Each existing coal-fired plant must weigh the impact of compliance cost on the projected cost of electricity in their region. The flue gas emission discharge for each generation technology in Table 5 illustrates the significantly higher rates from coal steam generation systems.

Coal-fired electric utilities in the U.S. have made a lot of improvements over the last 10 years to clean their flue gas emissions, however, current environmental pressures will require further improvements which will result in higher operating costs. If you compare coalfired systems to conventional naturalgas combined-cycle turbines (Table 5), the lbs of CO2 per KWH from the coal system is around 159-percent higher. If you compare lbs of SO2 per KWH, the coal system without an SO2 scrubber is approximately 240,000 times higher. With a scrubber, it is 3300 times higher. Currently, there are 1207 coal-fired generation systems in the U.S. and only 193 systems (19 percent) have SO2 scrubbers.

In summary, as individual states restructure their electricity markets, increasing numbers of customers will have the opportunity to chose their electricity suppliers resulting in lower electricity prices for most. The 1998 plan issued by the Clinton Administration said that consumers would save $20 billion per year under deregulation (0.55cents per KWH), which apparently would save the U.S. around 8 percent on the average retail price of electricity. According to the Annual Energy Outlook 2000, the average price of electricity will decline (assuming no Kyoto Protocol) from 6.7 cents per KWH in 1998 to 6.1 cents per KWH in 2005, to 6 cents per KWH in 2010, to 5.9 cents per KWH in 2015, and finally to 5.8 cents per KWH in 2020. This represents an average annual decline of 0.6 percent. According to the "Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Energy Markets and Economic Activity" report, this translates into decreases for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity users of 10 percent, 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from 1998 to 2020. Some states, however, are expected to experience a price increase, such as Idaho, which currently has low cost hydroelectric power. In March 1999, the Agriculture Dept. issued a report that listed 19 states expected to have higher electricity prices. The states are in the Pacific Northwest, Mountain States, Mid- South, Northern Plains and in some Great Lakes states. In Figure 1, states that are very low- cost producers of electricity may see their rates increase because under deregulation these low-cost utilities will have the opportunity to sell their power to more expensive states (or regions) and thus increase their profit margins.

Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol

As currently written, the Kyoto Protocol requires the U.S. to reduce its carbon emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels.

In 1990, the six greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States totaled 5,489,900,000 tons of gas. When each gas is weighted by its global warming potential, the total is 1,642,000,000 metric tons of carbon or carbon equivalent. Of this total, the combustion of energy fuels produced 5,440,267,390 tons of CO2 gas or 1,346,000,000 metric tons of carbon which is 82 percent of the total emissions. By 1998, the energy related emissions increased to 6,003,290,605 tons of CO2 or 1,485,400,000 metric tons of carbon.

The greenhouse gases that absorb infrared radiation (heat) are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and a host of engineered synthetic chemicals such as Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Water vapor is the most common with an atmospheric concentration of almost 1 percent, carbon dioxide is 0.0356 percent, methane is 0.00017 percent and nitrous oxide is 0.000031 percent. The greenhouse gases covered by the Protocol are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. For the three synthetic greenhouse gases, countries have the option of using 1995 as the base year.

Basically, there are three ways that the U.S. plans to reduce energy related carbon emissions: cut the demand for energy, use more efficient equipment, or switch to less carbon-intensive fuels (from coal to natural gas), or noncarbon fuels.

Fossil fuels derive their energy content primarily from oxidation of the hydrogen and carbon in the fuels. However, coal derives a higher percentage of its energy content from the oxidation of carbon than oil or natural gas. This is illustrated in Table 5 under CO2 (lbs per million BTU of fuel). The CO2 formation from coal combustion is around 76 percent higher than natural gas and around 24 percent higher than petroleum. As you can see, the proposed Kyoto Protocol limitations on carbon emissions will have a significant impact on the coal industry, the mining industry and the railroad industry, all of which will trickle down into dozens of other industries. The impacts to fuel costs and the U.S. economy from the international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be discussed in the second half of this two-part series, which will appear in the September, 2000 issue of HPAC Engineering.

Cost of Electricity & Air Emissions from Systems Part 2:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by William G. Acker

[ part 1 ] [ part 2 ]

The international effort to halt global warming may send energy prices soaring

The Kyoto Protocol is the name commonly used to describe the agreement that came from the "Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change," which was held in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. During that meeting, representatives from more than 160 countries met to negotiate binding limits on greenhouse-gas emissions for developed nations.

What Kyoto Demands

The Kyoto agreement established a legally binding protocol under which industrialized countries would reduce their collective emissions of six greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride— by 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by the first commitment period, which begins in 2008 and ends in 2012. The target for the U.S. is 7 percent below 1990 levels. Because the Protocol does not specify any targets beyond the first commitment period, the target is assumed to hold constant from 2013 through 2020. The participating developed countries, or Annex I countries, are the U.S., Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The 133 non-Annex I countries, which include Mexico, India, China, and South Korea, have no targets under the Protocol. To become binding in the U.S. , the Senate must approve the Protocol. So far it has not been submitted to the Senate for ratification.

To recap Part 1 of this series, there are three ways that the U.S. can reduce energy-related carbon emissions: cut the demand for energy, use more efficient equipment, and switch to less carbonintensive fuels (from coal to natural gas) or non-carbon fuels. Figure 1 shows the usage of the three primary fuels (petroleum, coal and natural gas) for both the reference case, which assumes no Kyoto Protocol, and the case of 7 percent below 1990 levels. By comparing the fuel usages of the two cases, one can get a sense of how the three ways to reduce energy-related carbon emissions will work.

In 1990, the six greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S. totaled 5,489,900,000 tons of gas. When each gas is weighed by its global-warming potential, the total is 1,642,000,000 metric tons of carbon or carbon equivalent. Of this total, the combustion of energy fuels produced 5,440,267,390 tons of CO2 gas or 1,346,000,000 metric tons of carbon, which is 82 percent of the total emissions. By 1998, energy-related emissions increased to 6,003,290,605 tons of CO2 or 1,485,400,000 metric tons of carbon. Figure 1 illustrates emissions from the combustion of energy fuels from 1990 through 2020. There are two graphs plotted on this chart: the reference case graph and the 7-percent-below-1990 graph. The reference case graph represents actual emissions from 1990 through 1998 and reference projections from 1998 through 2020, assuming that the Kyoto Protocol is not enforced. The second graph, 7-percent-below-1990, represents the projections of emissions assuming the Protocol is approved by the Senate and assuming that the target of 7 percent below 1990 levels is met entirely by reducing energy-related carbon emissions with no offsets from sinks (land use and forestry issues) and other greenhouse gases or international activities. This graph represents the worstcase scenario in regard to the amount of emissions reductions required to meet the Kyoto Protocol goal and on the potential impact on U.S. energy prices, energy uses and the economy. The Energy Information Administration's (EIA's)analysis of the Kyoto Protocol has five less stringent scenarios that may or may not be the final goal of energyrelated emissions.1 This article will only focus on the reference case and the 7- percent-below-1990 case.

Table 1 provides the CO2-emissions numbers used in the graph as well as the metric tons of carbon equivalent.Greenhouse-gas Emissions from the Combustion of Energy Fuels By 2010 (mid-year of the Kyoto commitment period), the reference case emissions are 43 percent above the 7- percent-below 1990 emissions, which is 2,177,804,514 tons of CO2 over the target of 5,059,448,673 tons of CO2.

In the reference case, all fuels continue to grow in demand but in the 7- percent below 1990 case, petroleum and coal usage drops and natural gas usage increases. By 2020, coal consumption drops dramatically to 71,000,000 tons per year for the case of 7- percent-below- 1990, which is a 91-percent drop from the usage in 2005. In comparison to the reference case, coal consumption is down by 94 percent. This major drop in coal consumption is related to its CO2 formation.

Figure 2 illustrates the changes in futureAnnual Energy Consumption fuel consumption for the reference case and the 7-percent-below-1990 level (on a Btu basis). One also can compare the differences in fuel consumption from the reference case to the case of 7-percent-below-1990 level. For coal, petroleum, and electricity, there is a drop in consumption from the reference case to 7-percent-below-1990 levels of 77.47 percent, 13.47 percent and 16.71 percent, respectively. Natural gas, however, increases by 10.17 percent. Even though total natural-gas usage in the U.S. increases only 10.17 percent, electric generators will see a very significant increase in their natural-gas usage under this Kyoto Protocol goal. Their natural-gas usage from 1996 to 2005 will increase 133 percent (or 4.06 quadrillion Btu), while from 2005 to 2010, it will increase 78.31 percent (or 5.56 quadrillion Btu), and from 2010 to 2020, it will increase 13.11 percent (or 1.66 quadrillion Btu). The critical question is whether natural-gas capacity can be built in sufficient quantity, if interstate natural-gas pipelines can be built on time, and if natural gas imports from Canada and Mexico can support this much expansion.

Table 2 provides fuel-usage and CO2 emissions data for each of the fuel types and CO2-emissions reductions from the reference case and the case of 7-percent below-1990 levels. To meet the 7- percent- below-1990 goal, U.S. energy consumption would have to drop 19.51 quadrillion Btu in 2010—a 17.55- percent reduction. Electric generators created 9.96 quadrillion Btu per year of the energy savings and remaining fuel consumers created the other 9.55 quadrillion Btu per year. The reductions in carbon emissions from electric generators account for 68-percent of the total CO2 emissions reduction, while the remaining fuel consumers (residential, commercial, industrial, and other) account for 32 percent. The electric generators accomplished the CO2 reductions through electricity-usage reductions, generation efficiency, and fuel switching.

Kyoto Protocol Impact

Projected fuel and electricity prices in the U. S. can be found in Table 3. The data was taken from the EIA's Kyoto Protocol study. Prices provided are actual 1996 prices, while projected prices are for 2005, 2010, and 2020. All prices are in 1996 dollars and costs (no escalation). By providing the prices in 1996 dollars, one can see price variations that occur without escalation variations.

Energy prices in the reference case are fairly stable over the next 20 years. Motor gasoline, distillate oil, and residual oil show moderate price increases through the year 2020. The Annual Energy Outlook 2000 (AEO 2000) prepared by the EIA illustrates slightly higher prices than Table 3.

Coal prices are declining due to gains in coal-mine labor productivity and lower transportation costs. Natural- gas prices are fairly stable over this period, with most sectors experiencing a slow increase in prices. Electricity prices are dropping due to increased competition, higher generating efficiencies, and lower prices. The carbon reduction target of 7-percent-below- 1990 reflects a "carbon price," which is a tax that is applied to the cost of energy intended to make carbon-rich fuels financially untenable. In its report, the EIA included projections based on this tax at the request of Congress. The carbon price that is applied to each of the energy fuels is related to its carbon content. With the carbon price included in this delivered cost of energy, energy prices are expected to rise significantly above the reference-case projections. Because of the higher carbon content of coal and petroleum products, the use of both fuels are reduced and there is a greater reliance on natural gas, renewable energy and nuclear power. Coal is the most carbon intensive of all the fossil fuels, therefore the delivered coal prices are most affected by the carbon prices. As a result of the carbon price, aggregate energy prices in the U.S. will change significantly.

Table 3 provides energy-price projections for the carbon-emissions-reduction case of 7 percent below 1990 levels. It reveals that fuel prices increase significantly, especially in 2010. Coal prices are 867 percent higher than the reference case , which is why coal consumption drops by 80 percent in that year (Figure 1). These changes will have a significant negative impact on coal industry, the railroads and manufacturing that relies on coal. Regionally, the price impact will be the greatest in regions in which electricity generation is currently dominated by coal-fired power plants. Electricity prices also increase significantly due to higher fuel prices and capital investing to replace coal-fired plants.

It is important to keep in mind that the case of 7 percent below 1990 level is the worst-case scenario (with respect to fuel prices and emissions reductions), which assumes that the U.S. does not get any carbon-emission credits for land-use forestry and agriculture, existing programs to reduce emissions of the other five greenhouse gases, or for International Trade of Carbon Permits. The Impact of the Kyoto Protocol document prepared by the EIA includes five less severe cases (3 percent below 1990 levels, equal to 1990, 9 percent above 1990, 14 percent above 1990, and 24 percent above 1990). The energy prices in each of these scenarios are less than the figures in Table 3, but price increases are still significant, even in the most generous scenario: 24 percent above 1990 levels. For example, in the year 2010 under that scenario, coal prices will have increased 156 percent above the reference case while industrial natural gas will have increased 33 percent and electricity will have increased 24 percent.

CO2 Emissions in 2010

Reference Case Energy Prices

Each case implicitly assumed different levels of reductions for forestry and agriculture sinks, reductions from five other greenhouse gases, the international trading of emissions permits, and other international activities, which may offset the required reductions of energy-related carbon emissions.

U.S. Fuel Imports

When the oil embargo hit in 1973,World Fuel Reserves and Fuel Consumption almost 17 percent of the U.S.'s electricity was generated by burning more than 560,000,000 barrels of oil per year. Today's utilities are less reliant on oil. Only 3.8 percent of our electricity is produced by burning 197,000,000 barrels per year. The transportation sector, however, continues to rely heavily on petroleum fuels. In 1973, oil consumption was at 3,285,000,000 barrels per year; today, it is more than 4,600,000,000 barrels per year. The transportation sector accounts for 66.7 percent of U.S. petroleum consumption.

Over the next two decades, imports of natural gas and petroleum will continue to rise. Under the reference case, natural-gas imports will increase from 12 percent in 1996 to 17 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2010 and to 16 percent in 2020.2 Petroleum imports will grow from 46 percent in 1996 to 60 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2010 and 64 percent in 2020.

During the 1970s, the decade of energy crisis, OPEC members produced about 50 percent of the world's daily production and had control over petroleum prices. Then in the 1980s, OPEC production dropped to 33 percent of the total world production. However, in 2014 OPEC nations will account for more than 50 percent of total U.S. petroleum imports. By 2020, OPEC once again will produce 50 percent of the world's petroleum.

Nuclear Power

In 1998 nuclear power produced 674 billion killowatthours of electricity in the U.S. Replacing that generation with natural-gas combined-cycle gasturbine generators will increase U.S. CO2 emissions by 277 million tons per year, which is 21 percent more CO2 emissions to remove in the year 2010. Using coal-fired generation results in 633 million tons per year of CO2 emissions or 48 percent more emissions to be removed in 2010.

Because of disasters such as the Chernobyl accident in 1986, nuclear power is not a politically popular energy source. However, eliminating nuclear power as an energy source fuel will make the goals of the Kyoto Protocol even more difficult. If we allow our nuclear plants to die off in the U.S., it will take 21-percent additional natural gas to produce the same amount of electricity. Using coal-fired generation to replace nuclear would result in a 30 percent increase in coal consumption.

Nuclear plants produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. Nuclear power could also reduce our dependence on imported energy. Two countries that seem to support nuclear power are China and Russia. China plans to increase its nuclear generation from 1.1 percent of its total to 18 percent by 2020. Russia plans to more than double its current 14 percent to 31 percent by 2030.

World Fuel Resources

Table 4 is the author's attempt to look at the world resources of our three primary fuels and their usages. It is important to note that coal constitutes almost 48 percent of the world fossil fuel reserves. Also, at the current rate of petroleum usage, some analysts think that demand will begin to exceed supply in 25 years.


The Greenhouse effect, caused by rising rates of CO2 and other gases, still is debated by the experts. One central concern is what fraction of the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels is attributable to humans and what fraction is attributable to natural sources. Another concern is the lack of conclusive correlation between human-made emissions and global warming. It's likely that the U.S. Senate may have to vote on the Kyoto Protocol before the experts reach more conclusive results.

The primary aim of this article was to raise the level of understanding of energy, technology, the environment, resource availability, and the economy. The intent was to provide the reader with an appreciation of all these issues so that we as a society can make equitable decisions in the years ahead. The author's advice to designers, installers and maintenance people is to stay informed on the issues of environmental legislation in particular the Kyoto Protocol, and to choose more efficient equipment, which not only saves on annual fuel costs, but also reduces our air emissions and our dependence on imported energy. One easy way to do this would be to consider renewable energy systems or to purchase electricity made from renewable energy sources. There is no single answer to the questions about energy in the years ahead, but you can be sure that there will be environmental challenges and probably be energy crises as well.

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1. "Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Energy Markets and Economic Activity." Energy Information Administration, 1998.
2. "Annual Energy Outlook, 2000." Energy Information Administration.

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