Viable Energy Mix for the Future




Propose A Viable Energy Mix for the Future

Recommend a Responsible and Viable Energy Policy You Feel Should be Adopted in the USA (Sustainable as Possible) (Compare 2019 Actual Usage With Target Years 2030, 2040, 2050) (72 Points Possible; 18% of Total

Grade This Semester)

– First; Identify/Estimate the Current Energy % Usage Mix by Category (Fossil Fuels by Type, Nuclear, Solar, Hydroelectric, Wind, Geothermal, Others) for the USA in 2019 (MS Word Table or Pie Chart Graphics Mandatory) (8 points) (11.1%) (This is NOT just for electricity generation; consider cars, planes, ships, trucks, and trains that mostly do not use electricity to operate)

– Next; Determine the Optimal Future Energy % Usage Mix by Category (Fossil Fuels by Type, Nuclear, Solar, Hydroelectric, Wind, Others Like H2 for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles) for the USA in Years 2030, 2040, and 2050 (MS Word Table or Pie Chart Graphics Mandatory) (The Mix Must be Feasible; 100% of Any One Source is NOT Feasible/Realistic) (16 points) (22.2%)

– Finally; Provide Rationale Why We Should Increase the Reliance Upon Some Types of Energy and Decrease Reliance Upon Other Types of Energy in the Next 30 Years (Discuss Pros & Cons; Consider Economic Efficiency and Environmental Impact of Each Source); Address Both Economic (20 points) (27.8%) and Environmental Factors (16 points) (22.2%) Influencing Your Predicted Mix; Provide Back Up/Comparison Statistics to Support Your Energy Mix Proposal: Cost of Generation per KWh in 2020/30/40/2050; Dealing With the Intermittency Issues of Solar and Wind; Job Benefits of Each Source; Green House Gas Emissions Per Source During Electricity Generation; Hidden Emissions Related to Toxic Mining of

Rare Earth Metals, and Disposal of Solar Panels and Electric Car Batteries Identify Changes Required by Corporate America in the Future (3 points) (4.2%)

Identify Changes Required by American Consumers in the Future (3 points) (4.2%)

Identify the Role the Government Should Play to Optimize the Future Mix -Should Existing Energy Related Regulations be Changed or New Regulations Introduced? Which Regulations and to Do What? (3 points) (4.2%)

-Should United States Government Subsidies be Given to Assist Development of New Energy Sources? Should Subsidies






A Viable Energy Mix for the Future

U.S. Energy Consumption

The United States is the second-largest energy consumer in the world, followed by China. The country uses energy from renewable or non-renewable sources such as solar and fossil fuels. Some non-renewable energy sources include coal, petroleum, and natural gas, while renewable energy sources include solar, biofuels, and electricity. In 2019 U.S. consumed approximately 100.2 quadrillions of energy.

The figure below shows the energy consumption for the United States by energy sources for 2019.

A significant percentage of energy generated in the U.S. is converted to electricity and power other sectors of the economy. In 2019, approximately 96% of the U.S. population used electricity as the primary energy source in their homes, workplaces, and industries. The transportation sector consumed the highest percent of electrical energy in 2019, followed by the industrial sector, then the residential sector, and finally the commercial sector. Petroleum serves as the most common source of power in the transport industry.

Future energy Usage

With the continuous rise of new and innovative energy production trends and consumption, there will be a paradigm shift in the United States. For example, coal consumption has declined since 2005 and is expected to decrease further in the coming years. Many coal plants have since shut down, and despite efforts by the Trump administration to revive them, not much has been done. Today, coal is being replaced by natural gas and other efficient, cleaner, safer, and cheaper energy forms. With the continuous drastic decrease in coal usage, there has been a noticeable reduction in carbon emissions, eradicating air, soil, and water pollution. Researchers project that this may be the advent of the coal mining industries’ fall (Betz, 2015).

As coal usage in the United States continues to decline, fossil fuels, natural gas, and other non-renewable energy sources are gaining popularity. This raises a lot of speculations and controversy around the future of energy usage in the country. Although renewable energy use is growing at a slow rate in the United States, it is predicted to be the future of energy use. Scientists globally are concerned about ozone depletion due to high toxic chemicals emitted from energy sources like fossil fuels. Yet, still, the use of renewable sources does not seem to be rising as required. By 2030, the world is expected to reduce its emissions by 45% and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; otherwise, the effects of global warming will be unbearable. This means that there is an expected drastic shift to renewable energy sources to decarbonize the globe. Therefore, combined, fossil fuels and nuclear energy should reduce by 45% of the energy consumed by the year 2030. On the same note, energy from renewable sources like solar, hydroelectric, wind, and hydrogen fuel are expected to rise and account for most energy production and use by 2040. In the next 20 years, major leading companies and organizations predict that  renewable energy will increase by 30%  a slightly lower value than the previous decade, and is expected to keep rising and peak by 2050.




Change of Energy Sources


The use of coal as energy is fast declining and is expected to be the lowest by 2030. Coal combustion is currently responsible for about 40% of CO2 emissions worldwide. Environmentalists continue to fight against coal as an energy source because of the ozone’s pollution and depletion. According to the Paris Agreement, Coal as a source of energy has to cease by 2050 to achieve the global climate goals (Jakob et al., 2020). Despite this need, coal usage is still high because of the industry’s position in the economy. About 8 million people work in the coal industry, while approximately US$900 billion per year of revenues are generated by the industry. Therefore, stopping coal usage will positively impact the environment and likely lead to the loss of millions of jobs and billions of revenues. As a result, it is increasingly challenging to achieve the 2050 target, although coal use will likely reduce. By 2040, coal energy is expected to drop further and be at the lowest by 2050. Policymakers, therefore, have the tough job of formulating policies that create a balance between global climate and economic stability when it comes to phasing out coal usage.


Hydrogen promises a clean, affordable, and secure future of energy. Demand for hydrogen energy has steadily grown since 1975. For decades companies manufactured hydrogen from coal, fossil fuels, and natural gas. Hydrogen production contributes to the increasing levels of global CO2 emission and highly unlikely to exist in the future. Interestingly, global demand for hydrogen keeps rising, necessitating alternative production sources like water, biomass, or a combination of both sources. Both water and biomass are clean energy sources, renewable, and affordable, and are likely to grow to a large scale in the future. In this light, Hydrogen energy is expected to rise by 2030, through 2040, and peak by 2050.

Solar energy

With the continuous advancements in technology, solar energy production is expected to become cheaper and more efficient, meaning increased usage. By 2030, solar energy will be among the leading energy sources in the United States (Reid, 2020). Technologists are working towards innovations like higher-efficiency modules using tandem silicon cells technology which will produce about 1.5 times more electricity. Solar panels will also be made to capture solar energy from either side hence improving their efficiency. There are also plans to reduce the cost of the silicon and silver used in the solar cells’ production; therefore, the overall cost of solar energy is expected to decline. The significant advantage of solar energy is that it is freely available hence renewable and efficient. When people adopt solar energy usage, fossil fuels will drastically reduce, and the global climate agenda achieved. Solar energy is expected to peak by 2050, following a rigid and firm foundation in infrastructure, technology, and innovation in 2030 and 2040.



Biofuels like ethanol and green fuels are gaining ground because of the global push to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Currently, biofuels are used in the transportation sector to power automobiles, and they account for 2.7% of energy in the global transport sector (Caspeta et al., 2013). Ethanol, for example, is produced primarily in the United States from corn as first-generation bioethanol.  With the leading energy companies and organization projecting the subsequent decline of coal manufacturing in the country it is evident that will be a major decline by 2040.  The U.S. National Petroleum Council projects that by 2050 the use of biofuels will dominate the energy sector. WitDespite the advantage of biofuels in the fight against CO2 emissions, the energy source still faces lots of criticism. Some argue that using land to produce plants for energy production is a poor use of land, and instead, they should seek alternative ways of producing energy. Biofuels are also expensive to produce hence making them less efficient.

Given that the Government subsidizes the prices to ensure cost competitiveness, biofuels cannot favorably compete with other energy sources. Research has shown that biofuel is not a sustainable energy source because it is high volatility and ability to in the air. The advent of their existence shortly is not guaranteed.

Other renewable energy sources

There are some relatively new sources of energy that seem promising for the future. These include wind energy, geothermal energy, fuel cells, and ocean energy. According to an article by BBC, water is the most reliable form of renewable energy (Bernhard, 2020). In 2019, global hydropower production skyrocketed to 1,308 gigawatts. This energy source is cheap to produce and store and does not contribute to any form of pollution. Despite its advantages, hydro energy interferes with aquatic life that gets displaced during construction on these water bodies. For this energy source to be sustainable and a future for the energy sector, there need to be alternative forms of generating the power without interfering with aquatic life. Geothermal energy also looks promising for the future, with the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) being the main focus area. These systems are preferred because they have a technology that allows the geothermal wells’ efficiency and dry rocks to be dramatically improved. Therefore, this, coupled with other renewable energy sources, is intended to provide the future of American energy production.

The rationale for Proposed Mix

The primary goal for eradicating non-renewable energy sources such as reducing coal usage is environmental preservation and sustainability. Fossil fuels contribute to harmful gas emissions, contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer and consequently global warming. These energy sources are also relatively expensive hence less sustainable for the future. Renewable sources, on the other hand, are naturally and cheaply available. For example, wind energy only requires the installation of turbines; solar power needs solar panels; hence, the production cost is lower, meaning more efficiency and sustainability. These sources are also cheaper since they occur naturally; therefore, their economic impact is more significant since more can be produced and supplied for less. To achieve SDG 7 by 2030, there needs to be a drastic shift to improving energy production and ensuring sustainability. According to United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the inability to access energy supplies and transformation systems strain human economic development. If people continue to use fossil fuels without having policies to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, then there will be implications on the global climate.

The use of renewable sources addresses climate change while at the same time ensuring efficiency. Today, hydropower is the largest single source of renewable electric energy, producing about 16% of the world’s electricity, whereas bioenergy is the largest single source of renewable energy today. As more energy sources that use technology get created, more people can get employment, thus improving the living standards. Although solar power seems like one of the viable future energy sources, it suffers intermittency, and this has caused worldwide criticism. This energy form is only available when the sun shines, which is during the day. This means that no power is generated at night or over winter, making it unreliable. Also, solar panels and electric car batteries could lead to environmental pollution when discarded during recycling, and they have been termed a death trap.

Changes by corporate America

Corporate America should meet the energy demands of the economy while still working on preserving the environment. Energy production companies have the responsibility of promoting clean and sustainable energy production. With a proper understanding of global warming and the effects of energy sources like fossil fuels, these companies have the obligation of ensuring they do not contribute towards global pollution. Instead, they should join hands with the Government to generate clean energy. These companies need to understand the new forms of renewable and sustainable energy and move towards their direction. As they aim to make these changes, they can seek government support to help transition and clean energy production. If the 2050 deadline for clean energy is to be achieved, these companies must play active roles.

Changes required by American consumers.

Citizens have a responsibility to ensure they help the Government in its quest for clean energy. They can do this by providing they use only clean energy that does not contribute to harmful gases. For example, people can move to electric or solar-powered cars instead of petroleum-powered vehicles. This is one way they can contribute towards the reduction of air pollution. As long as people keep consuming fossil fuels, the companies will keep producing. Therefore, people need to take a firm stand against energy sources that harm the environment and look for alternatives. As people keep using these, they form a habit and soon adapt to energy use changes.

Role of Government

One way to achieve this is by developing policies aimed at having a clean energy future. The Government should come up with regulations that aim to meet 2030 sustainable development goals. For example, they should ban the use of fossil fuels and provide immediate alternatives so that those who lose their jobs get options and revenues continue streaming in for the economy. This is an active step towards a sustainable energy future that the Government can follow through and instill tough penalties for all those who continue to a fault. The Government should also provide alternative energy sources and play an active role in promoting their usage. For example, it can support and finance the technological innovations involved with solar power generation. This way, they hasten the transition towards a sustainable energy future for all Americans. The Government needs to make renewable energy production a priority and focus all the necessary resources towards the actualization.

Another way of achieving a viable energy mix for the future is having energy efficiency goals aligned with renewable energy goals. As the population rises, energy demands increase, and the Government, through corporates, is tasked with ensuring they meet the demand. If they put in efforts towards efficiency, there may be a reduced need to generate more energy. Focus on energy conservation also means that there is more for use, and at the same time, stored for the future.

The existing policies on energy focus on efficiency and sustainability. The Government should enact strict and heavy penalties on all companies that are breaching the current energy policies to curb natural reserves exploitation. For example, the Government can support the corporates to ensure they can produce adequate renewable energy. From this perspective, the Government can administer subsidies and tax reductions to ease the cost of production. The Government can also support innovations aimed at sustainable energy production like in the solar power sector. Some policies, however, need to be entirely eradicated for sustainability. For example, tax reductions on coal energy production should be removed because it encourages fossil fuels for energy, contributing to environmental pollution. This in no way helps to have clean energy production and only further depletes the ozone.

The Government should give subsidies to support the development of new energy sources. Depending on its capacity, the Government can extend these subsidies to neighboring countries to develop new renewable energy sources to reduce global warming. Providing corporates subsidies helps with production costs meaning more can be produced for less hence efficiency and sustainability. However, when giving these subsidies, the Government could consider those working towards clean energy and not those who stick to the sources that harm the environment. This approach will coerce and induce companies to produce clean energy because of the support received and gradually move from the non-renewable inefficient energy types. Through such initiatives, the Government will meet energy demand and sustainability and contribute to reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.


The United States is a highly industrialized country that relies on vast amounts of energy supply to meet the demand. This energy is produced from different sources, both renewable and non-renewable. Over the years, some sources like fossil fuels have proven harmful to the environment and are slowly being phased out. There is a need to replace these sources to be efficient and sustainable, moving towards green and clean energy. The future energy sources include solar power, hydro energy, wind energy, energy cells, and biomass. These are all renewable hence sustainable, affordable, and clean, meaning protection of the environment. The Government, corporates, and Americans all have a role to play towards achieving sustainable energy production. The Government has policies in place that control energy production and consumption. However, with the continuous tax reductions on coal production, there will be increased use of coal. As a result, it is of paramount importance that the Government enacts hefty taxes on companies producing coal. Others need to be emphasized more and penalties implemented for failure to adhere. The Government needs to support these innovations by providing subsidies to reduce production costs and increase supply. When all these are implemented, there is hope that by 2050, America will meet its target of sustainable energy production.



Bernhard, A. (2020, July 14). The most powerful renewable energy. BBC Future.

Betz, M. R., Partridge, M. D., Farren, M., & Lobao, L. (2015). Coal mining, economic development and the natural resources curse. Energy Economics, 50, 105-116.

Caspeta, L., Buijs, N. A., & Nielsen, J. (2013). The role of biofuels in the future energy supply. Energy & Environmental Science, 6(4), 1077.

Jakob, M., Steckel, J. C., Jotzo, F., Sovacool, B. K., Cornelsen, L., Chandra, R., … Urpelainen, J. (2020). The future of coal in a carbon-constrained climate. Nature Climate Change, 10(8), 704–707.

Reid, G. (2020, January 16). Why the future looks bright for solar energy. World Economic Forum. energy/#:~:text=In%20the%20coming%20years%2C%20technology,the%20environment %20and%20climate%20change.


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