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Trends and Outliers

TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog


When Data Analytics Reveals Unexpected Details: Surprises Exist – Good and Bad


j04434141 150x150 When Data Analytics Reveals Unexpected Details: Surprises Exist   Good and BadWith the same devastating honesty of a pre-schooler or a mother-in-law, analytics and business intelligence are telling us that we’re not as “green” as we might want to believe.  Massive amounts of data about the energy consumed in the United States and where it comes from are show that even though “renewable energy” has been growing in popularity – our utility companies are not tapping these resources as much as in years past.

Analysis in Business Week reported that fashionable energy sources (solar and wind power especially) have been increasing, other renewable energy (wood and hydro-electric) are actually in decline.  Some reasons are the impact of tax incentives and other programs to reduce deforestation and boost recycling.  But overall, the business intelligence cuts through the hype to tell us that Americans are actually using LESS renewable energy as a share of total consumption than in the early 1980s, when the No-Nukes movement was in its prime stopping construction of nuclear power plants.

The data from October 2009 tells the real story thanks to data analytics.  As a percentage of energy consumption through 12 months ended May 09, identified by source:
Geothermal – up 7 percent
Solar – up 42 percent
Waste – up 7 percent
Wind – up 342 percent
Biofuels – up 229 percent
Wood – DOWN 3 percent
Hydro – DOWN 7 percent

So are we walking the walk or just talking the talk?  It’s not enough to reduce your energy consumption — sometimes you have to ask the tough questions of where it comes from too.

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art

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