We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Season of Creation – Energy

We have taken the five Sundays readings in the Season of Creation and highlighted a specific environmental area which we will cover weekly. (This week, energy ) How is this area affecting us ? What can we do at St. Peter’s and individually to improve our use of them ? We have added related scriptures.

Isaiah 40:28-31 “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

1. Power in the Bible

We think of power in the natural world as produced from various energy sources in nature -the sun, wind, coal, water, geothermal, oil, biomass and the atom (nuclear). Power in religious terms is spiritual energy God is unlimited and this spiritual energy is unlimited in contrast to the energy we seek in the physical world which is limited.  The difference from the physical world is that we do not consume this spiritual energy; we reflect it.  It can be adapted to many needs in this world.

A. Power is an inherent characteristic of God ( Rom 1:20 ). It is the result of his nature. God’s kind of power is seen in his creation ( Psalm 19 ; 150:1 ; Jer 10:12 ). His inexplicable power is the only explanation for the virgin birth of Jesus ( Luke 1:35 ). Power is always a derived characteristic for people, who receive power from God ( Deut 8:18 ;Isa 40:29 ; Micah 3:8 ; Matt 22:29 ; 1 Cor 2:4 ; Eph 3:7 ), from political position ( Esther 1:3 ; Luke 20:20 ), from armies ( 1 Chron 20:1 ), and from other structures that provide advantage over others. When humans perceive that their power is intrinsic to themselves, they are self-deceived ( Lev 26:19 ; Deut 8:17-18 ; Hosea 2:7-9 ; John 19:10-11

B. The Bible uses spiritual energy which is transmitted to humans. It begins with God’s generation of light. This illumination is the spontaneous effect of divine Love in action, of Truth manifested. The Bible then goes on to chronicle this energizing force in the lives of individuals and nations, such as Moses energizing his people, leading them out of slavery and introducing them to the laws of God and brought them to the borders of the Promised Land.

Later  Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” n2 His great power to do good was generated by God.When he took Peter and John up onto the mount and was transfigured before them, “His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” n3 The sparkling spiritual energy the disciples saw in him was evident throughout his ministry, feeding thousands and calming seas. He told his disciples that they could move mountains if they had “faith as a grain of mustard seed

C Faith in God is a transformer. It transforms thinking. Holding to it and living by it can bring a solution to energy needs by causing us to be more inventive, more aware of resources close at hand, more accurate and disciplined, more universal in our concerns, and thus more equitable.

Paul especially images the living of the Christian life as an empowerment from God. The believer’s union with Christ delivers him or her from the power of sin (cf. Rom. 6-8) and introduces him or her to the “power of [Christ’s] resurrection” ( Php 3:10 ). Salvation and holy living provide the Christian with a “spirit of power” for witness ( 2 Tim 1:7-8 ).

D. For our use we may find spiritual energy can be generated through prayer.

2. Power in the Natural World Today

The United States uses and produces many different types and sources of energy, which can be grouped into general categories such as primary and secondary, renewable and nonrenewable, and fossil fuels.

Primary energy sources include fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal), nuclear energy, and renewable sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated (produced) from primary energy sources.

There are five major primary energy consuming sectors. Their shares of total primary energy consumption in 2017 were:

  • Electric power—38.1%
  • Transportation—28.8%
  • Industrial—22.4%
  • Residential—6.2%
  • Commercial—4.5%

The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of that electricity.

The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity

In 2017, the amount of energy produced in the United States was equal to about 87.5 quadrillion Btu, and this was equal to about 89.6% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between the amount of total primary energy consumption and total primary energy production was mainly the energy content of net imports of crude oil.

The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—combined accounted for about 77.6% of the U.S. primary energy production in 2017:

o Natural gas—31.8%
o Petroleum (crude oil and natural gas plant liquids)—28.0%
o Coal—17.8%
o Renewable energy—12.7%
o Nuclear electric power—9.6%

The mix of U.S. energy consumption and production has changed over time

Fossil fuels have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years, but the mix has changed over time.

Coal production peaked in 2008, trended down through 2016, and increased about 6% in 2017. Coal production in 2017 was about equal to production in 1979. The main reason for the general decline in U.S. coal production in recent years is the decrease in U.S. coal consumption for electricity generation.

Natural gas production in 2017 was the second-largest amount after the record high-production in 2015. More efficient and cost-effective drilling and production techniques have resulted in increased production of natural gas from shale and tight geologic formations. The increase in production contributed to a decline in natural gas prices, which in turn has contributed to increases in natural gas use by the electric power and industrial sectors.

Crude oil production generally decreased each year between 1970 and 2008. In 2009, the trend reversed and production began to rise. Production in 2015 and in 2017 was the second and third highest on record, respectively. More cost-effective drilling and production technologies helped to boost production, especially in Texas and North Dakota.

Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL)that are extracted from natural gas before the natural gas is put into pipelines for transmission to consumers. NGPL production has increased alongside increases in natural gas production and reached a record high in 2017. U.S. consumption and exports of HGL have both increased in recent years.

3. Power in the Natural World tomorrow – Renewables vs. Fossil Fuels

The competing energy sources can be distinguished  by the following factor

  • How fast can they be replenished
  • Cost of production
  • Effect on the environment

Fossil fuels can take thousands—or even millions—of years to naturally replenish: Natural gas, Coal, Oil . Their supply is limited because they don’t naturally replenish on a short enough timescale for humans to use  

Fossil fuels represent the remains of animals and plants which lived here 500 millions of years ago. The organic matter buried millions of years ago had very little chance to decay, enabling their energy to be stored and later converted to fossil fuels They remained buried deep underneath the surface, and these remains turned into combustible materials. Since we consume a lot, these fuels do not have time to occur fast enough to satisfy our needs.  

Historically, we have used this source Hence, fossil fuel and nuclear energy provide 93% of the energy sources in the world.  Oil is used in massive quantities, making up for 41% of the total energy needs. Hence, coal provides 24% of the globe’s energy, and natural gas provides 22% of the total amount of energy needed at a global level. The remaining 6% if nuclear

They have been cheaper than renewables

However, fossil fuel emissions represent the greatest cause of air pollution. Furthermore, air pollution leads to ozone layer depletion, and then climate change effects started affecting our planet.

Specialists indicate that the fossil fuel combustion represents the greatest contributing factor to the emission of greenhouse gases, high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the 20th century, specialists indicate that the global average temperature increased with 1 degree Fahrenheit.  Hence, the planet overheats, affecting humans, plants, and animals at the same time. 

This has contributed to melting glaciers and a sea rise, imperiling animals and plants, leading ot extinction.

Renewable energy comes from natural resources that can be replenished during an average human lifetime and includes the following types of power:  Solar, Wind, Hydro,  Geothermal, and Biomass

Renewable energy sources are beneficial because they have a very limited negative environmental impact when compared to fossil fuels. They can also reduce the worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

They constitute infinite sources of energy. However, the downside here is that it all depends on your location .In the past, they were too expensive to be used widely

Batteries are challenging the lack of consistency with renewable sources where generators must respond to grid demands by ramping up or down power generation

Battery storage alone could soon begin to compete with gas. Bloomberg New Energy Finance  (BNEF) says that four-hour battery storage will be competitive with gas by 2025, even where natural gas is incredibly cheap, such as in the U.S.

Overall, renewables are growing faster than fossil fues.. In 2016, renewable energy generation in the US grew to a record 22 gigawatts of capacity—burying fossil fuel  growth. Last year, solar and wind power accounted for nearly 95% of new energy in the US.

Renewables are being used in many new energy projects, particularly wind and solar. In Texas, wind power is by far the most dominant renewable resource with  nearly triple the megawatt capacity of any other state  and a cutting-edge grid that supports the efficient delivery of wind-generated electricity.

Fossil fuel generation today costs between $0.05 – $0.17 per kilowatt hour in G20 countries. including the U.S., the U.K., Russia, Japan, India, and Germany

Fossil fuels are still cheaper .More than that, coal and gas power stations, with sunk capital costs, will continue to have a role for many years

By 2020, however, renewables are expected to cost $0.03 – $0.10 per kilowatt hour, with the price of onshore wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects expected to be as low as $0.03 per kilowatt hour by 2019.

Presently, offshore wind projects and solar thermal energy can still be quite costly, but they too are expected to drop in price between 2020 and 2022 — to $0.06 – $0.10 per kilowatt hour.

A 2018 report recently published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), predicts the cost of renewable energy will experience a noticeable drop by 2020, putting it on par with, or cheaper than, fossil fuels.

BNEF reports that wind and solar will be cheaper than coal in most places in the world by 2023

Let’s look at each of the renewables

  • Solar

Using solar panels, we can harvest energy directly from sunlight and convert it to electricity that powers our homes and businesses. Solar energy can also be used to produce hot water or charge battery systems.  Therefore it has the potential to provide all of our energy needs and it does so without polluting.

An advantage of solar thermal power is that thermal energy can be stored efficiently,

for example using molten salt systems, and fuels such as natural gas or biogas may be used as back-up  o ensure continuous operation. If this technology  is combined with power plants operating on fossil fuels, it has the potential to extend the time frame of the existing fossil fuel resources

The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it’s limited to just a few hours of each day. Scientists are currently developing ways of storing solar energy so that it can be used even during the nighttime.

Also, solar power  takes up much land. It requires at least 10 times the acreage to equal a conventional fossil fuel plant.. For consumers there is the cost of buying solar panels.

One creative  way for consumers to use solar power without the cost of providing panels

A new program from REC  Cooperative Sunshare gives REC members the power to embrace even more clean, renewable energy.* Through Cooperative Sunshare members may purchase 50-kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks of solar energy   A 50-kWh solar block is $5.33, plus delivery costs. The price for solar blocks will remain fixed for 3 years and are not subject to generation charges, including power costs adjustments or other riders

  • Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy comes from the movement of water. It’s one of the oldest and cheapest ways of generating power, and is a well-known competitive source of energy. A major advantage hydroelectric energy has is that it doesn’t use fuel. It also has the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for power generation.

Hydropower does have a greater environmental impact than some other renewable sources of energy, because they can change water levels, currents, and migration paths for fish and other freshwater life.

Large hydroelectric facilities around the country contributed 7.5% of the electricity used in the U.S.

Some disadvantages hydroelectric energy has, are major land losses and water evaporation. Large reservoirs also have the tendency to submerge and destroy large areas of biologically rich and productive lowland, which can greatly affect the lives of those who live in the area.

  • Wind

Like Solar, it requires a huge operating area in order to produce large amounts of energy. Windmills take up a lot of space, which limits the usage of wind power on a global scale.

It can be used to pump water, generate electricity, and power up wind turbines.

Like solar energy, wind power is essentially pollution-free and is a growing and important renewable energy source supplying electricity to grids around the world. In 2017, wind farms produced more than six percent of the electricity used in the U.S.Geothermal energy

Earth has a massive energy source contained within it. Heat trapped when our planet formed, combined with heat generated from radioactive decay in rocks deep beneath the crust, results in a massive amount of geothermal heat energy. Sometimes that heat escapes in large amounts all at once, which we see as volcanic eruptions on the surface.

We can capture and use geothermal energy by using steam from heated water to spin a turbine. In a geothermal spring system, water is pumped below ground. Once it is heated, it rises back to the surface in the form of steam and spins a turbine to generate electricity.

Additionally, geothermal heat can be used directly to provide heating or cooling to buildings. With this technology, known as a ground-source heat pump, a fluid is pumped below the ground surface to be heated or cooled, where the temperature is constant year-round at about 50 degrees.

While still a small part of our energy mix, geothermal energy is a promising renewable energy source, with massive potential for energy supply. In Iceland, for example, geothermal energy already acccounts for 90% of home heating needs and 25 percent of electricity needs. However, there are some concerns with geothermal energy, including the cost of constructing a power plant and its relation to surface instability and earthquakes.

  • Biomass

Biomass energy refers to any energy produced from recently living organic matter like plants or animals. Biomass is a renewable resource because plants can be regrown relatively quickly, and they grow using renewable energy from the sun. Fuels like ethanol and biodiesel (both used for cars and trucks) also come from biomass.

Biomass fuels are also considered to be “carbon-neutral,” meaning they don’t put any extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is assumed to be true because, in principle, as long as new plants are planted and grown whenever plants are harvested and burned for energy, those new plants will take up the carbon produced by combustion, leading to no extra carbon added to the atmosphere. However, regrowing plant life takes time, and the degree to which biomass fuel is truly carbon-neutral is up for debate.

Your Role in Reducing Energy

    In the kitchen

1. Dishwasher

Run full loads in your dishwasher and save energy, and don’t pre-rinse your dishes before putting them in. Do both and you’ll save up to 20 gallons of water per dish load, or 7,300 gallons over a year. That’s as much water as the average person drinks in a lifetime. (If you must handwash, turn off the tap while you scrub

2. Garbage Disposal

Use cold water when you run your garbage disposal. Better yet, try not to use it at all by composting your food waste or disposing of it in the trash. Your drain will be less clogged, and you’ll save money on main­taining your septic system. Disposal waste can disrupt nutrient balances in water and soil ecosystems, which in turn can harm wildlife.

3. Microwave

Keep your microwave clean and you’ll be able to maximize its energy. This means less electricity used, less money spent, and less time cooking. Microwaves are between 3.5 and 4.8 times more energy efficient than traditional electric ovens. If it costs ten cents to cook one item in a microwave, it would cost forty-eight cents to cook the same item in a standard oven. If everyone in North America cooked exclusively with a microwave for a year, we’d save as much energy as the entire continent of Africa consumes during that same time.

4. Preheating

If you’re broiling, roasting, or baking a dish that will cook for an hour or more, don’t bother preheating your oven. Even for breads and cakes, never preheat for longer than ten minutes. If you reduce the amount of time your oven is on by one hour per year, you’ll save an average of two kilowatt-hours of energy. If 30 percent of U.S. households could each reduce total oven preheating time by just one hour per year, the sixty million kilowatt-hours of energy saved could bake.a dozen cookies for every American.

5. Refrigerator

Keep your head out of the refrigerator and the door dosed! The refriger­ator is the single biggest energy-consuming kitchen appliance, and open­ing the refrigerator door accounts for between $30 and $60 of a typical family’s electricity bill each year. The amount of energy saved in a year by more efficient refrigerator usage could be enough to light every house in the United States for more than four and a half months straight.

6. Storage Containers

Instead of using plastic, store your food in glass or porcelain containers. Fewer chemicals will likely leach from the container into the food. Chemicals that transfer from plastic to food and from food to body may cause health risks.

7. Stove

Use the right-size pot on your stove burners. You could save about $36 annually for an electric range or $ 18 for a gas range. Five percent of the energy bought and used per person in the United States is for preparing and cooking food. Over a year, this exceeds twice the energy a person in Africa uses to power everything in his or her life. 

8. Trash Bags

Use leftover paper or plastic bags as liners for your trash cans. You’ll save money and time shopping in the trash-liner bag aisle. The average cost of twenty kitchen trash bags is $5. When one ton of plastic bags is reused, the energy equivalent of eleven barrels of oil is saved. When one ton of paper bags is reused, up to seventeen trees are spared.

9 Washers

Set warm wash and cold rinse cycles, and save 90 percent over the en­ergy used when machine washing in hot water only. Together, all U.S. households could save the energy equivalent of one hundred thousand . barrels of oil a day by switching from hot-hot to warm-cold cycles

10. Laundry

Hang up your laundry instead of using the dryer.

Wait with doing laundry until you have enough clothes to fill your washing machine.

       In the Living Room

 1. Fireplace

Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. An open damper can let 8 percent of the heat in your home escape. In the sum­mer, cool air escapes. That can add up to about $100 a year—up the chimney. 

 2. Shades/Drapes

Close the curtains when it’s sunny in the summer and when it’s cold in the winter, and you could reduce your energy needs by up to 25 per­cent. If every house in America kept the curtains closed for additional insulation, the total energy saved annually would be as much as the en­tire nation of Japan uses in a year. 

    Elsewhere in the home

1. Check the insulation in your home in the attic and sealing on windows and doors

2. Water Heaters Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket to store heat. Then set the thermostat no higher than 120 degrees to conserve energy. You  could save 25 percent of the energy used in your home by making these changes. If everyone did this, U.S. households would save more than $32 billion per year in energy costs 

3. Take a shorter shower. Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water

4. Set your thermostat a degree higher for air-conditioning and a degree lower for heating, and you could save $100 per year on your utility bill.

5. Unplug chargers when not in use. Many electronics, such as TVs and computers, have a “sleep” mode, so that they can be started instantaneously or by remote control. They use a small amount of electricity in this mode, but over time it adds up. Turn them all the way off instead of putting them to sleep.

     In the Garage 

1. Car Idling

Limit the amount of time you let your vehicle’s engine run in the garage, and keep the garage door open. An idling vehicle emits twenty times more pollution than one traveling thirty-two miles per hour. There are sixty-five million garage owners in the United States. If 10 percent of garage owners were to idle their cars for just five fewer minutes per day, the total savings would be 84.5 million gallons of gas a year, enough for a million people to drive an average-size car across the country.

2. Car Wash

Washing your car in a commercial car wash is better for the environment than doing it yourself. Commercial car washes not only use significantly less water per wash—up to 100 gallons less—’but they often recycle and reuse rinse water. If every American who currently washes a vehicle at home chose instead to go to a professional car wash—just once—up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved, and some 12 billion gal­lons of.soapy polluted water could be diverted from the country’s rivers, lakes, and streams.

      In the Backyard

1. Drip Irrigation

For flower beds and gardens, use drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of regular sprinklers. You can save up to 70 percent of the water you would  typically use because evaporation will be minimal and only the base of the plants will be receiving water as opposed to the leaves and foliage.             

2. Existing Lawn Irrigation

Consider installing a rain sensor to override your automatic sprinkler cycle during and after rain events. Depending on the focal climate, your water consumption (and your water bill) could drop up to 30 percent per year. 

3. Hoses

Fit your garden hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle in order to pre­vent waste when the water is turned on and the hose is not being used. You’ll save up to 6.5 gallons per minute. If just 10 percent of U.S. house­holds attached shut-off nozzles to their hoses and the average reduction in hose usage was just thirty seconds per week, the water saved would fill over 128,000 bathtubs every day.

  1. Lawn Care

Cut your grass so it’s two inches high, and leave the clippings on the lawn. You’ll spend less time mowing and raking, and you won’t have to water your lawn as much. Forty percent of water in summer is allocated to outdoor usage when rates are highest. Also, less lawn care usually means using fewer chemicals that will leach into runoff water and dam­age local fish and bird habitats.

5. Sprinkler

Try to use your sprinklers in early morning or evening. The average lawn needs only about one hour of watering per week. In summer, outdoor water usage accounts for 40 percent of household water bills. The irri­gation of U.S. lawns and landscapes claims an estimated 7,9 billion gal­lons of water a day—a volume that would fill fourteen billion six-packs  of  beer.

6. Water Filters

If you want to be sure the tap water in your house is dean, try installing water filters on your faucets instead of buying bottled water—you’ll save money over time and get better-tasting water. You.can buy a water filter for as little as $29, or about a month’s worth of bottled water (if you drink a liter a day). About 1.5 million tons of plastic are used in the bottling of 89 billion liters of drinking water each year. That’s enough plastic to make two water filters for every household on the planet. One billion people around the world tack access to clean drinking water.

7. Recycle. If everyone in America simply separated the paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products from the trash and tossed them into a recycling bin, we could decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills by 75 percent