The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

What do you know about energy?

True or False: Burning coal in electric power plants is a major source of CO2 and other emissions. However, its use doesn't have negative consequences beyond the emissions caused by combustion.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

  • Correct!

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, about how much have atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased?

  • Correct!

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen about 43% since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the mid-eighteenth century-half of that since 1980

In 2014, what percentage of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

  • Correct!

    In 2014, the United States got 35% of its energy from petroleum, and experts project that demand for this fuel will rise at least through 2020. 

How efficient are ordinary commercial solar cell units?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Correct!

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    As of 2014, the very best experimental units could convert more than 40% of light energy to electricity; ordinary commercial units are in the range of 5% to 20%. 

Which renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2014?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Correct!

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Wood and waste biomass, along with biofuels, accounted for about 50% of the U.S. renewable energy supply in 2014, and more than 4% of all energy consumed. 

How are battery electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles different?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Battery electric vehicles have only a motor and battery, they recharge from the grid and their carbon emissions depend on the energy used to generate the electricity they use. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and use petroleum onboard when their batteries are exhausted. Some hybrid vehicles can charge from the grid and others cannot. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Battery electric vehicles have only a motor and battery, they recharge from the grid and their carbon emissions depend on the energy used to generate the electricity they use. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and use petroleum onboard when their batteries are exhausted. Some hybrid vehicles can charge from the grid and others cannot. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Battery electric vehicles have only a motor and battery, they recharge from the grid and their carbon emissions depend on the energy used to generate the electricity they use. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and use petroleum onboard when their batteries are exhausted. Some hybrid vehicles can charge from the grid and others cannot. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Battery electric vehicles have only a motor and battery, they recharge from the grid and their carbon emissions depend on the energy used to generate the electricity they use. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and use petroleum onboard when their batteries are exhausted. Some hybrid vehicles can charge from the grid and others cannot. 

  • Correct!

    Battery electric vehicles have only a motor and battery, they recharge from the grid and their carbon emissions depend on the energy used to generate the electricity they use. Hybrid vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, and use petroleum onboard when their batteries are exhausted. Some hybrid vehicles can charge from the grid and others cannot. 

Which of the following is not considered to be a drawback to wind energy?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Correct!

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

What are ways that electricity system operators match power needs to generation on a day-to-day basis?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Load-following and peaker plants, demand-response and energy storage are all ways that grid operators can adjust generation to meet demand.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Load-following and peaker plants, demand-response and energy storage are all ways that grid operators can adjust generation to meet demand.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Load-following and peaker plants, demand-response and energy storage are all ways that grid operators can adjust generation to meet demand.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Load-following and peaker plants, demand-response and energy storage are all ways that grid operators can adjust generation to meet demand.

  • Correct!

     

    Load-following and peaker plants, demand-response and energy storage are all ways that grid operators can adjust generation to meet demand.

In 2014, approximately how much energy did the United States use, in quadrillion BTUs?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

  • Correct!

    U.S. energy consumption was about 98 quads in 2014.

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Global Warming

A term used to describe the phenomenon of Earth’s rising average near-surface temperature. Although such fluctuations have occurred in the past due to natural causes, the term is most often used today to refer to current warming trends. Most scientists have concluded that this is very likely due to the observed increase in human-generated greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

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