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Southeastern Geographer Vol. 22, No. 1, May 1982, pp. 20-34 ENERGY USE PATTERNS IN GEORGIA AS THEY RELATE TO POPULATION, URBANIZATION, AND QUALITY-OF-LIFE* Malcolm A. Murray In recent years geographers and others have expressed an interest in the spatial variations of energy production and use. (1) Their research has commenced with either stated or implied assumptions. For example, it may be assumed that northern states of the U.S. consume more energy than southern states both in absolute and per capita terms. This assumption could prevail because of the perceived emphasis on industrialization in northern areas and, at the personal level, the energy required to combat severe winters. (2) Testing such assumptions has commenced, and a framework of theory , pertaining to the relationship of energy consumption to other characteristics , gradually is emerging. Not all assumptions are proven correct , and the theories that eventually emerge may differ considerably from the original hypotheses. (3) In social science it usually requires an array of studies to point toward a particular theory, and even then it is subject to dynamic adjustment. OBJECTIVES. The major objective of this study is to analyze electrical and natural gas patterns by county in Georgia in relation to patterns of population distribution, urbanization, and quality-of-life. Consideration is given to both the total energy and per capita energy consumed. The study is based on three assumptions: (1) the energy consumed in counties would correlate positively with the number ofpeople in those counties , (2) high energy consumption should correlate positively with the more highly urbanized counties because ofthe higher energy infrastruc- * The author expresses appreciation to the various electrical power and natural gas companies that kindly provided data. Daniel Moravec of the Georgia Power Company calculated data which otherwise would not have been available for this study. Graduate students James Meldrum and James Fielding computed data into usable form, and Frank Drago, staff cartographer, prepared the graphics . The study was assisted financially by the College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia State University. Dr. Murray is Professor ofGeography at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA 30303. Vol. XXII, No. 1 21 ture of urban areas, and (3) high energy consumption should correlate positively with those counties judged to have a high quality-of-life. Secondary objectives of the study are to reemphasize the potential spuriousness of visual associations based exclusively on map analysis, (4) and to demonstrate the usefulness of partial correlations as an analytic tool. DATA SOURCES AND METHODS. In 1976 a baseline energy study, using 1973 data, was prepared for Georgia's State Energy Office by the Economic Development Laboratory of the Georgia Institute of Technology . (5) The study revealed the following gross energy use percentages for Georgia, based on British Thermal Unit (BTU) equivalent: coal, 31; natural gas, 28; gasoline, 28; and other fuels, 13. Gross energy use refers to the total amount of specified energy consumed within the state's energy system. In 1973, the ultimate energy use percentages for Georgia, based on BTU equivalent, were: gasoline, 33; natural gas, 30; electricity, 13; and other fuels, 24. Ultimate energy use refers to the actual form in which energy is used by consumers in the state. For example, the gross energy going into the production of electricity far exceeds the ultimate electrical energy that is generated and available for ultimate energy consumption. The percentage of ultimate energy use for Georgia, by function, was: transportation, 44; industrial, 29; residential, 15; commercial, 10; and agricultural, 2. The Georgia Institute of Technology study provided the first important overview of energy use within the state. The data were collated by 18 Area Planning Development Commission data zones and therefore not of high spatial resolution. An aim of this study has been to improve the areal resolution by acquiring and collating selected energy data for each of the state's 159 counties. In the process, the information was updated to 1975 largely because it was for that year that the cooperating companies could make the data available. Energy consumption data for the counties of Georgia were collected into a spatially interpretable form. The study is restricted to electrical and natural gas consumption, which accounts for about 43 percent ofthe...


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