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"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

1.18.2009

ENERGY CONSERVATION: THE GREENEST OF ALL?

A recent report reminds us that energy conservation could realistically reduce the rate of growth of electricity consumption by 22 percent over the next two decades if key barriers can be addressed.

The report issued this month by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) details how conservation could saving 236 billion kilowatt hours by 2030 (equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 14 New York cities). Or it means that over the next two decades the demand for electricity could be reduced from the projected 1.07% annual rate of growth projected by the US Energy Information Administration.

Locally, the City of Tallahassee has continued to promote conservation as an important component of its energy plan. Conservation projections become critically important in the discussion of the controversial proposed biomass plant, which is projected to meet only 5% of Tallahassee's base load demand when in full operation.

What are the barriers to achieving this type of reduction in electrical energy consumption? A lot has to do with us--attitudinal and societal actions are as important as regulatory and market barriers. We can be resistant to doing more than "the minimum required" or we can reject attributes of efficient technology or changing processes within our homes as too time consuming, too inconvenient, requiring too much thought. Individuals may perceive that they are sacrificing something or, at a minimum, doing something differently. We may lack information or resources necessary to implement changes. This resistance, for whatever reason, reduces the likelihood of achieving energy conservation goals.

The report points out that to achieve the projected energy savings would require the "perfect utility customer." A copy of the report, "What Can Efficiency, Demand Response Programs Realistically Deliver?" is available on the
EPRI website.

Information from their website: The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.

EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment.

EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries.


The energy conservation mantra: the cheapest new power plant is the one you don't have to build--
  • Florida's energy goal: reduce its energy requirements through enhanced conservation and efficiency measures in all end-use sectors and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by promoting an increased use of renewable energy resources and low-carbon-emitting electric power plants.

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