This “Spaghetti Energy Chart” represents estimated U.S. energy use in 2008. Notice the minuscule proportion of solar energy (yellow line at the top ) and wind energy (purple line). The huge light gray sections on the right side labeled “Rejected Energy” is another way to say “Lost Energy”. The amount of lost energy through inefficient energy conversion, transmission loss, etc. is larger than the amount of “Useful Energy”. The amount of “low hanging fruit” available for picking with regards to efficiency improvements, better technology, new transmission methods, and better conservation is therefore huge. The chart can be interpreted in a couple different ways. It can be seen as overwhelming and depressing if you think about how much we are still dependent on oil and coal and how much of our energy is simply wasted. Yet the chart can also be interpreted to show the vast potential for renewables and other technologies to make an impact. The market for competitive disruption is massive. Click on the chart for a larger, readable version.
Credit for the data goes to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy.