July 20, 2010 - China passes US as world's largest energy consumer; NextEra signs wind deal with Google

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

China has passed the United States as the world's largest consumer of energy. The International Energy Agency measures states' energy consumption in a unit called "oil equivalent". The most recent IEA report shows that China used 2.252 billion tons of oil equivalent, whereas the U.S. used only 2.170 billion tons of oil equivalent. This reverses the trend for more than the past 100 years, when the United States has been considered to consume more energy than any other country. While energy consumption has traditionally been viewed as directly correlated to GDP, this shift breaks that trend as well. Commentators point to China's increased industrial activity, particularly in light of the stagnant consumer-driven American economy.

Interestingly, American energy intensity remains high: the average U.S. citizen uses five times as much energy as does the average Chinese citizen. What will happen when China reaches the energy intensity of the U.S.?

NextEra's competitive energy subsidiary, NextEra Energy Resources, has entered into a power purchase agreement with Google Energy, LLC. Under the deal, Google will buy 114 megawatts of power from NextEra Energy Resources' Story II Wind Energy Center in Iowa.

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