American Energy: We’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For
As the song goes, there’s no place like home for the holidays. For many Americans, that means traveling long distances. It means extra trips to grocery store and mall, keeping the cold at bay in our homes, and cranking up our ovens—all of which is made possible by energy.
Indeed, our modern day holiday season has evolved to become the quintessential celebration of one of America’s most bountiful blessings: energy.
This energy-fueled season of thanks and merriment kicks off with Thanksgiving. As we reflect on the people, places, and things we are grateful for this season, let us not forget the incredibly prominent role energy plays in all of our lives.
The Busiest Travel Time of the Year
Thanksgiving has long been known as the busiest travel time of the year. TSA is expecting a record number of flyers this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday travel period with more than 26.8 million passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints nationwide Nov. 22 through Dec. 2. Whether it’s the jet fuel in the air or the gasoline powering passenger vehicles on the ground, the energy reliance of the transportation sector this holiday makes up a sizable portion of the pie. And that doesn’t even include the journeys to and from the grocery store.
Energy is the “Food” of Food
One of the best parts of any holiday is the food. Our modern energy system is to thank for making these feasts possible. From natural gas-based fertilization, to petroleum-based mechanization and transportation, and electricity-based irrigation and refrigeration, the plentiful selection on our tables requires an extensive energy mix. This is all before the food is even prepared.
A turkey takes about 4 hours to cook using about 8 kilowatts of energy. To put that in perspective, 8 kWh of energy is about enough to power your office air conditioning and HVAC unit for 16 consecutive hours. This doesn’t even account for the mashed potatoes simmering on the stovetop, the food processor churning the vegetables for the stuffing, and the preparation of an endless array of sides and desserts to accompany the main fare. Whether you’re a gas or electric household, your kitchen will be one of the biggest sources of energy demand this holiday season. Let us also not forget about the battery powered smoke detector working around the clock in the event of an overcooked turkey.
With bellies full and plates empty, it’s time for some quality R&R. Football anyone? Maybe a game on the tablet or big screen? The batteries powering TV remotes and personal devices have become essentials in our entertainment matrices. Gas-powered fireplaces also allow for some added warmth during these festive gatherings.
The truth is, most Americans don’t think twice about the energy that goes into creating, delivering, and cooking our food, warming our homes, entertaining friends and family, and keeping the lights on throughout the hours of feasting and fun. This holiday season, let’s give thanks to the men and women working around the clock to ensure the safe and reliable transmission of energy, and the American ingenuity that enabled our society to develop and advance the innovations that power our modern day Thanksgiving traditions.