The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

About This Website

 

As national and international debate on energy grows more intense, Americans increasingly need dependable, objective, and authoritative energy information. In its role as adviser to the federal government on science and technology policy, the National Research Council has conducted numerous studies on the topic of energy. The information on this site draws on that body of material and on other sources in order to offer a basic toolkit of facts and concepts to use in assessing various energy claims and proposals. (See a complete list of the Research Council’s relevant reports.) A companion print piece to this website can be found here.

The First in a Series

Energy is the first in a series of topics we will cover in the “What You Need to Know About…” program, which includes informational booklets and websites designed to engage readers in current topics in science, engineering, and medicine. These informational materials provide accurate information about complex issues that affect us as individuals and as a nation. Sound knowledge about such issues is critical if citizens are to evaluate debates and make informed decisions in our increasingly technological world.

Credits

The information on this site was derived from data provided by the Energy Information Administration and from relevant reports and studies by the National Research Council.

The site is the companion to a publication written by Curt Suplee, based on an original draft by Allen Bard, Marilyn Brown, Mike Corradini, and Jeremy Mark. The content was edited by Michael Jensen, John Kotcher, Stephen Mautner, and Terrell Smith in collaboration with Jim Zucchetto, Alan Crane, and the National Research Council’s Board on Energy and Environmental Systems.

Special thanks to Paul Blumberg, Robert Fri, Richard Meserve, Larry Papay, Ari Patrinos, and Mark Thiemens for their review of the information on the site. Additional thanks to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for their contributions.

The site was designed and developed by Threespot, LLC.

Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Illustration Credits

All artwork by Threespot Media, Inc., and copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Pie charts, bar graphs, and line graphs based on information from the Energy Information Administration except for “Our Energy Flow,” which is based on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's energy flow diagram.

For permission information regarding the use of any illustrations on this website, please contact us.

Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
National Research Council

Douglas M. Chapin,* Chair, MPR Associates, Inc.
Robert W. Fri, Vice Chair, Resources for the Future
Rakesh Agrawal,* Purdue University
Allen J. Bard,† University of Texas
Andrew Brown, Jr.,* Delphi Corporation
Marilyn Brown, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Institute of Technology
Michael L. Corradini,* University of Wisconsin, Madison
Paul A. DeCotis, State of New York, Office of the Governor
E. Linn Draper, Jr.,* American Electric Power, Inc.
Charles H. Goodman, Southern Company Services, Inc. (retired)
David G. Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council
James J. Markowsky,* American Electric Power Service Corporation (retired)
David K. Owens, Edison Electric Institute
William F. Powers,* Ford Motor Company (retired)
Michael P. Ramage,* ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (retired)
Maxine L. Savitz,* Honeywell, Inc. (retired)
Scott W. Tinker, University of Texas, Austin

* Member, National Academy of Engineering.
† Member, National Academy of Sciences.

Notes on Data Sources

The data cited on this website were drawn largely from agencies of the U.S. Department of Energy. These and other sources are identified below.

Key to acronyms:
AEOAnnual Energy Outlook
AERAnnual Energy Review
EERE  Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
EIAEnergy Information Administration
IEOInternational Energy Outlook
LLNL  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

ENERGY USES
Landing page: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; IEO 2009)
Home & Work: EIA (AER 2008; EIA's Energy Kids); EERE's 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book
Transportation: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; EIA's Energy Kids); America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation
Industry: EIA (AER 2008; EIA's Energy Kids)

ENERGY SOURCES
Landing page: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)
Electricity: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008); America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation
Fossil Fuels landing page: EIA (AER 2008); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)
Coal: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; Annual Coal Report 2006; Coal Reserves Current and Back Issues)
Oil: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; IEO 2009); U.S. Geological Survey
Natural Gas: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates)
Nuclear: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation; Council on Foreign Relations
Renewable Sources landing page: EIA (AER 2008); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)
Geothermal: EIA (EIA's Energy Kids); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)
Wind: EIA (AEO 2009; EIA's Energy Kids); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008); American Wind Energy Association; DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply
Solar: LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008); America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation
Hydroelectric: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; EIA's Energy Kids); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)
Biomass: EIA (AER 2008); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008); J. Fargione, J. Hill, D. Tilman et al. "Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt," Science, Vol. 319, 2008, pp. 1235-1238.
Emerging Technologies landing page: EIA (AER 2008); Bureau of Land Management's "Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement"
Advanced Nuclear Fission: EIA (AER 2008); Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program
Alternatives to Conventional Oil: EIA (IEO 2009); Bureau of Land Management's "Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement"; Venezuela's Oil-Based Economy
Advanced Coal Technologies: EIA (AER 2008); America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation
Biofuels: EIA (Biofuels in the U.S. Transportation Sector); America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation; Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 26

ENERGY COSTS
Landing Page: EIA (AER 2008); Understanding and Responding to Climate Change (2008 edition)
Environmental Impact: EIA (AEO 2009; IEO 2009); Understanding and Responding to Climate Change (2008 edition)
Security: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009; IEO 2009)
Sustainability: EIA (AER 2008); LLNL Energy Flow Chart (2008)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Landing page: EIA (AER 2008)
Getting More for Less: EIA (AER 2008; AEO 2009)
CAFE Standards: Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards
Industrial Efficiency: EIA (AER 2008); Decreasing Energy Intensity in Manufacturing: Assessing the Strategies and Future Directions of the Industrial Energy Technologies Program; Sustainability in the Chemical Industry: Grand Challenges and Research Needs--A Workshop Report; Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000
Refrigeration: Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000
Lighting: Partnerships for Solid State Lighting: Report of a Workshop; America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation
Heating & Cooling: EIA (AER 2008; Trends in Heating and Cooling Degree Days: Implications for Energy Demand); EERE's 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book; EERE's "Your Home: Furnaces and Boilers"; EERE's "Your Home: Thermostats and Control Systems"

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