10 Surprising Numbers: Where the Money Goes

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Earth: The Sequel, the new book by EDF President Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn, is filled with interesting facts. Here are ten numbers that may surprise you.

Government Dollars

China spends 200 times more on solar energy than does the U.S., and the U.S. spends six times more on subsidies to the gas and oil industries than it does on renewable energy research. Hmmm…

  • $6 billion – Amount the federal government gives to the oil and gas industries each year in subsidies and tax benefits, page 11.
  • $1 billion – Amount the federal government spends each year on research into renewable sources of energy (this is less than ExxonMobil earns in a single day), page 11.
  • $200 billion – Amount China has committed to invest in utility-scale solar power, page 65.

Solar Energy Production

As China clearly recognizes, judging from its investment, solar power has great potential. But solar power is underutilitized. Worldwide, that’s starting to change.

  • 100 square miles – Land area needed to power the entire U.S. if only 10% of the sun’s energy could be converted to electricity, page 15.
  • 6.6 gigawatts – Total worldwide energy production from solar in 2007, compared to 1000 gigawatts from coal, page 16.
  • 0.05% – Percent of U.S. energy produced from solar, page 16.
  • 44% – Percent growth in the world’s solar energy-generating capacity in 2005 (at this rate, by 2050 the Sun could supply ten times the Earth’s energy needs), page 14.

Solar Energy Generates Jobs

The benefits of solar power go beyond the environment. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, solar thermal energy can generate jobs, as well as electricity.

  • 3,400 – Number of construction jobs that each gigawatt of solar thermal-generated electricity will create, page 65.
  • 250 – Number of permanent jobs that each gigawatt of solar thermal-generated electricity will create, page 65.
  • $500 million – Amount of tax revenues that each gigawatt of solar thermal-generated electricity will create, page 65.
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One Comment

  1. jdeneen2
    Posted April 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This is a small piece that was required to be put on a blog for a policy proposal project. Some of the issues that we discussed in our group presentation are related to this post among many others.
    The CAN DU Act is a policy that can not be ignored. Doing nothing is not an option anymore. The energy sources we use today may be efficient but they are hurting the environment. This act needs to be instated for several reasons. Nuclear energy is the future of energy. The fear of a reaction cannot stop us from taking this step. There has never been a nuclear reaction where it caused injury or death to workers and members of the community surrounding the plant in the United States. It is more efficient that any other form of energy. Increasing Nuclear energy would require new nuclear plants to be built and this would help create hundreds of jobs for the community per plant. .
    Solar and Wind energy are also on the rise. Both of these power sources are completely emission less and do no harm to the environment. Increasing these power sources would help to decrease the need to use coal, oil and ethanol. These energy sources are bad for the atmosphere and need to be replaced. Going overseas to get oil is expensive and is not practical. It makes the United States rely on other countries to run our own country. This act would help The Untied States strive for energy independence. We have all the resources and technology to make this work.
    The current leading energy sources are non renewable so they need to change sometime before they run out. Our projected energy sources are renewable, emission less, and friendly to our atmosphere. Our plan helps to create new jobs that are currently non existent. This is not an issue where we can not do anything. This policy is something that we C.A.N. D.U. and will help solve the problem of global warming.