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?

On average, how much solar radiation reaches each square meter of earth?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Correct!

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

What percentage of commercial building energy is used by schools?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    School buildings represent 13% of commercial buildings energy use, or about 2.5% of total U.S. energy use (13% × 19%).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    School buildings represent 13% of commercial buildings energy use, or about 2.5% of total U.S. energy use (13% × 19%).

  • Correct!

    School buildings represent 13% of commercial buildings energy use, or about 2.5% of total U.S. energy use (13% × 19%).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    School buildings represent 13% of commercial buildings energy use, or about 2.5% of total U.S. energy use (13% × 19%).

On average, which is most efficient in coverting heat into electic power?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Correct!

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

Renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biofuels, waste, and wood) accounted for what percentage of the total energy supply in the United States in 2014?

  • Correct!

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2014, 10% of our total energy use came from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower.

Between 1980 and 2012, after fuel economy standards where put in place, which of the following has happened to vehicles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Correct!

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

True or false? Carbon capture and storage would reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant?

  • Correct!

    Carbon capture and storage will reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant, though it will decrease carbon emissions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Carbon capture and storage will reduce energy efficiency of a coal plant, though it will decrease carbon emissions.

What is a major reason that the U.S. is exporting more oil in 2014 than in 2005?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    New technologies for drilling have led to increases in supply of oil in the U.S. in the decade up to 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    New technologies for drilling have led to increases in supply of oil in the U.S. in the decade up to 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    New technologies for drilling have led to increases in supply of oil in the U.S. in the decade up to 2014.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    New technologies for drilling have led to increases in supply of oil in the U.S. in the decade up to 2014.

  • Correct!

    New technologies for drilling have led to increases in supply of oil in the U.S. in the decade up to 2014.

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. 

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.

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