Connect with us

Energy

Chart: The Rate of Change in U.S. Energy Consumption

Published

on

Chart: The Rate of Change in U.S. Energy Consumption

Chart: The Rate of Change in U.S. Energy Consumption

This chart shows the winners and losers in energy sources used

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Weeks ago, we published a flow chart that showed all U.S. energy consumption from 2015 in one giant diagram.

This is a great tool for understanding a static picture of U.S. energy consumption – it breaks down the energy sources, as well as the details about where the energy ultimately flows. It also shows that a large amount of energy potential, about 61%, is inevitably “wasted” due to the laws of physics as well as inefficient processes.

However, because it is a static view of one year, it ends up doing a poor job of encapsulating how the energy sector is shifting. This week’s chart shows the changing landscape for different energy sources in the United States.

Examining the Shift in U.S. Energy Consumption

As a starting point, based on the aforementioned diagram of energy usage, let’s look at the composition of the energy mix:

  • Oil: 36%
  • Natural gas: 29%
  • Coal: 16%
  • Renewables: 10%
  • Nuclear: 9%

Now, let’s look at the rate of change of these broad categories between 2014 and 2015 according to the EIA:

  • Oil: +2%
  • Natural gas: +3%
  • Coal: -12%
  • Renewables: +1%
  • Nuclear: 0%

On a macro level, the first obvious note is that coal consumption dropped rapidly in 2015. This, along with other factors, is why many people are declaring that coal is dead.

Another interesting observation is that renewables only increased by 1% in consumption. This seems strange, considering that there is such hype around things like the Tesla Gigafactory and the surging demand for lithium-ion batteries. Diving a bit deeper will provide an explanation for this.

Renewable Energy

There are five main components that make up U.S. renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass.

The biggest sub-sector is biomass, which made up about 43% of all renewable usage in the United States in 2015. Hydro is also significant, as it is 27% of the renewable total. However, as you will see, consumption in biomass and hydro dropped between 2014 and 2015:

  • Biomass: -5%
  • Hydro: -4%
  • Wind: +5%
  • Solar: +31%
  • Geothermal: +4%

Even though the biomass and hydro consumption dropped, the future of renewables is in good hands. In particular, it has been the miraculous change in the price per watt of solar energy that has changed the landscape. Solar energy consumption, even though it is a relatively small number compared to other energy sources, increased by 31% in 2015.

As a final point, here is the data and projections going out to 2017 for the main renewable sources, according to the EIA. Note that solar’s CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is 39% between 2013 and the projected 2017 number.

Renewable energy consumption (Quadrillion Btu, 2015)

2013201420152016e2017eCAGR (2013-2017)
Solar0.310.420.550.660.8239%
Geothermal0.210.210.220.230.233%
Wind1.601.731.812.082.2612%
Hydro2.562.472.392.572.52-1%
Biomass3.763.933.773.743.750%
Click for Comments

Energy

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

Published

on

A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Popular