Our Civilization Uses "Vast" Amounts of Energy.
In this case, "Vast" = 15 Terawatts* =
15,000,000,000,000 Watts of energy, which is...
...a measure of hourly rate of ALL of the energy that all of us use. The whole planet. For everything. Not just electricity, but energy for transportation, manufacturing, heating - everything. So just how much is that 15 Terawatts? Well, it happens that treadmills sometimes have watt meters, and...
...an average 69 year-old on a treadmill can put out maybe 100 watts for an hour:
So one hundred 69 year-olds could put out 100 times that amount: 10,000 Watts
(more than enough to heat a house for an hour on a cold day in winter):
The roughly ten housand houses in Port Angeles, WA USA take 10,000 times as much:
about 100,000,000 Watts (10,000 houses times 10,000 Watts/house):
100,000,000 Watts = one hundred million watts or 100 Megawatts
And to make 100,000,000 Watts, we would need one million 69 year-old men!
The Seattle area uses about 100 times the energy used by the Port Angeles area:
100 x 100,000,000 watts =
10,000,000,000 watts =
To make Seattle's 10,000,000,000 watts we would need 100 million 69 year-olds!
Energy of western half of North America is about 100 x Seattle Area Energy:
100 x 10 gigawatts = 1000 gigawatts which is 1 Terawatt or 1,000,000,000,000 watts
1,000,000,000,000 watts would require 10,000,000,000 69 year-olds. That’s 10 BILLION 69 year-olds!
Hold it! What is the population of Earth?
We would be using WAY more than the population of the entire planet
just to provide the energy needs of Western North America.
Yet the whole earth uses 15 TIMES as much energy as Western North America:
And remember: there's NO WAY a 69 year-old man could keep up that pace for much more than an hour. I have verified this myself. In every way. :-)
*15 TW in 2008, that is.
Strictly speaking, a watt or a Terawatt is an energy rate (aka power), and a watt-hour or a Terawatt hour is a unit of energy: if our 69 year-old puts out 100 watts of power for 1 hour, he makes 100 watt-hours of energy. Or if a healthy 18 year-old puts out 150 watts of power for 4 hours, he makes 600 watt-hours of energy.
1 Horsepower = 746 watts of power (1 watt = 0.00134 Horsepower)
1 Calorie (big C) = 1 kcal = 1.163 watt-hours of energy
1 BTU = 0.2930 watt-hours of energy (1 watt-hour = 3.413 BTUs)
1 Joule = 0.00027778 watt-hours of energy (1 watt-hour = 3600 Joules)