Are you an energy genius? It’s hard to tell whether or not Americans are aware at all of the energy that controls their lives.
The optimistic end to COP26 belies the fact that here at the beginning of 2022, global energy has hit some major road bumps. China began rationing electricity as they were running low on coal because of a geopolitical fight with Australia, and depressed manufacturing in that country has rattled through the supply chain. India is also running out of coal.
Europeans are paying sky-high prices for natural gas. Asia spot prices for LNG increased an order of magnitude. Protracted calm spells in places like the North Sea have curtailed the output of large wind farms essential to their country’s new energy mix. The average price of regular gasoline doubled in America.
Supply chains have been interrupted, and many manufacturers are decided to abandon much of their Christmas stock as it could not arrive on time to be paid, threatening the anticipated holiday economic boom.
Extreme weather continues to cause grid problems across the world and global carbon emissions continued to grow.
Gearing up new sources of energy takes a while, usually years. The pandemic depressed the output from oil&gas wells, coal mining and planned new energy facilities, and the rapid econonic recovery from the pandemic caught the world by surprise.
Given this new reality, the following energy quiz should be revealing. The answers are given at the end.
Zero to five correct answers out of the 20 questions means you may need to read up on energy in order not to be at the mercy of its vagaries. Six to ten correct answers is a good passing grade. Eleven to fifteen right answers means you’re really energy-literate. Sixteen to nineteen correct answers means you should be advising Congress – that or you’ve been reading my blog regularly. Twenty right answers suggests you’re Mr. Spock reincarnated.
1) What country will emit the most carbon in 2022?
a. India b. Brazil c. United States d. China
2) Which global political agreement has directly led to continued closing of the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer, meaning it’s getting smaller?
3) Which source will produce more energy in America in 2022?
4) Which piece of legislation in history has arguably saved the most lives?
a. The Clean Air Act b. The Highway Safety Act c. Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act d. The Clean Water Act
5) What percentage of America’s electricity will be produced from wind 2022?
a. 4% b. 8% c. 12% d. 16%
6) What energy source has the biggest deathprint (kills the most people per kilowatt-hour produced)?
a. coal b. natural gas c. nuclear d. wind
7) What energy source has the smallest deathprint (kills the least people per kilowatt-hour produced)?
a. coal b. natural gas c. nuclear d. wind
8) Which state has the lowest carbon footprint, primarily because of their energy mix?
a. Vermont b. California c. Washington d. Oregon
9) When were the uranium atoms created that are used in all nuclear reactors today?
a. 1.2 million years ago b. 4.5 billion years ago c. 6.3 billion years ago d. 13.8 billion years ago
10) Which country will build the most nuclear power plants in 2022?
a. Russia b. South Korea c. China d. United States
11) What is the most efficient/cheapest fuel for automobiles and light duty trucks?
a. compressed air b. diesel c. electricity d. hydrogen e. biodiesel f. ethanol g. compressed natural gas
12) Which country has the most fossil fuel in the ground?
a. Saudi Arabia b. Russia c. United States d. China
13) Which type of new power plants built in 2022 will collectively generate the most power in the world?
a. coal b. natural gas c. wind d. solar
14) What subjects someone to the most radiation?
a) standing next to a nuclear power plant b) flying across country ten times a year c) eating a 6 oz bag of potato chips every day d) living in Guarapari, Brazil
15) What subjects someone to the least radiation?
a. standing next to a nuclear power plant b. flying across country ten times a year c. eating a 6 oz bag of potato chips every day d. living in Guarapari, Brazil
16) There are over 80,000 dams along rivers in the United States. How many are equipped to produce power?
a. 1% b. 3% c. 15% d. 30%
17) When has the average price of energy+food been the cheapest (normalized to today’s GDP)?
a. prehistoric times b. 1630 c. 1850 d. 1955 e. 2020
18) What energy source has Bill Gates invested in, and championed, over the last few years?
a. nuclear energy b. solar power c. wind energy d. tidal energy
19) What is the biggest power plant in the United States (produces the most power)?
a. Grand Coulee Dam b. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station c. Scherer Coal-fired Power Plant d. Topaz Solar Farm
20) What kills the least number of people each year?
a. crossing the street b. nuclear waste in dry cask storage c. food poisoning d. being a dietitian
21) Which country is expected to match or exceed $288 million that has been raised to develop 16 small modular reactors around the country to help reach zero-carbon electricity by 2035?
a. United Kingdom b. Brazil c. United States d. China e. Russia f. Canada
22) What is the single largest electricity-producing physiographic feature in the world that humans tap into?
a. the Mediterranean Sea b. the Yangtze River c. Earth’s atmosphere d. heated parts of Earth’s crust
For more insight, there are many great energy quizzes online (just search on Energy Quiz).
1) d. China, about twice that of the U.S. 2) d. The 1990 Montreal Protocol 3) d. oil (energy not just electricity) 4) a. The Clean Air Act 5) b. 8% or about 340 billion kWh out of about 4.2 trillion kWh total 6) a. coal 7) c. nuclear 8) c. Washington 9) c. 6.3 billion years ago in a supernova explosion near our condensing solar nebula 10) c. China 11) c. electricity 12) c. United States 13) b. natural gas 14) d. potato chips 15) a. standing next to a nuclear reactor 16) b. 3% but many many more could be powered 17) e. 2020 – energy and food have never been cheaper than they are today as a proportion of our average income 18) a. nuclear energy 19) Palo Verde (shown above) produces the most energy, about 30 billion kWhs/yr; the Grand Coulee Hydroelectric Dam, with a higher nameplate capacity, only produces about 20 billion kWhs/yr and comes in 5th place behind four nuclear plants. 20) b. nuclear waste in dry cask storage – no one has ever died in history from nuclear waste in dry cask or in fuel pools, but about 5,000 people a year die crossing the street, similarly for food poisoning, although only a few dietitians die each year in their job 21) a. the United Kingdom, led by Rolls Royce 22) b. the Yangtze River – in 2022 the almost 100,000 MW of hydroelectric dams along its length will generate about 500 billion kWh (the equivalent of fifty 1,000 MW nuclear plants) or about 4% of the world’s total electricity production – only eight countries in the world produce more energy than this single river.
Have a Wonderful and Happy 2022!