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Career Outlook


altering the U.S. oil and gas sector and domestic energy land- scape. Increased oil and gas production from North Dakota’s Bakken shale and the Marcellus shale in the northeastern region of the United States among other shale plays have been the source of increased onshore oil and gas production.


In addition to shale, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Alaska are once again the focus for new investment. The U.S. Depart- ment of Interior has released a five-year leasing program for high-resource areas under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing: 2012-2017 Program. In light of these develop- ments, the International Energy Agency recently projected the United States will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades, amid booming output from shale formations.


Coal: The United States holds the world’s largest estimated recoverable reserves of coal and is a net exporter of coal. Ap- proximately 72 percent of coal production originated in five states: Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Coal is used to generate 42 percent of the electricity in the United States, and is also used for industrial applica- tions such as cement making, and conversion to coke for the smelting of iron ore at blast furnaces to make steel. The United States is also developing carbon capture and sequestration technologies with the goal of capturing 90 percent of CO2 emissions from coal.


Nuclear Energy: The United States operates the most nuclear reactors, has the largest installed nuclear power capacity, and generates the most nuclear power in the world. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. electricity is produced at 100 nuclear reactors in 31 states. By 2015, the first of 24 new nuclear reactors are expected to come on line.


Subsectors of the civil nuclear industry are represented by companies that produce nuclear components (reactors, nucle- ar monitoring instruments, boilers, heat exchangers, industrial valves, instrument modules, insulation, economizers for boilers, pumps and other reactor parts), nuclear fuel (uranium mining, conversion, enrichment, fuel assembly fabri- cation, and spent fuel storage), nuclear en- gineering and construction (site preparation,


materials and equipment procurement, and construction), and nuclear advisory services (consulting on nuclear-related regulatory policies, human resources, and infrastructure; legal services; and operations and program management services).


According to Oil Price, the U.S. Department of Commerce es- timates the international marketplace for civil nuclear technol- ogy at $500 to $740 billion over the next 10 years, with the potential to generate more than $100 billion in U.S. exports and thousands of new jobs. The international civil nuclear marketplace is estimated at more than $500‐740 billion during the next decade and has the potential to generate more than $100 billion in U.S. exports and thousands of new skilled and unskilled jobs.


Energy Efficiency: The market for achieving greater energy efficiency in the United States is large and growing. Combined financing and investment in building, industrial, and supply side energy efficiency doubled in 2012, exceeding $15 billion in funds.


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which collects, analyzes, and disseminates energy information to promote policy, markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment, says federal appliance standards, along with other federal and state policies, and market forces are drivers of energy efficiency in the United States.


In August 2012, President Obama signed an executive order supporting industrial energy efficiency and combined heat and power. The executive order is expected to encourage industrial facilities to modernize their domestic manufacturing capacity, and contribute to significant energy cost savings by as much as $100 billion.


Smart Grid: The United States is an international leader in the development and deployment of smart grid technologies and services. The smart grid subsector is defined by the electric grid equipment and services required for the modernization of distribution and transmission systems, as well as the Informa- tion and Communication Technologies (ICT) that support a fully networked grid and enable two-way communications and electric flows.


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HISPANIC ENGINEER & Information Technology | Fall 2014


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