Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Efficiency Standard Would Take Bite Out Of Higher Energy Costs


Reading about a national energy efficiency standard made me remember the full-page, color package of lies advertisement I wrote about just over a week ago.  A group spun efforts by Congress to consider reducing greenhouse pollution as a direct tax on the American people.  The pollution must be reduced – the sooner the better.  No matter the manner in which Congress works to introduce the first nationwide effort to reduct that pollution, for-profit energy corporations will do their best to pass on any new costs directly to consumers.  I suppose there is nothing intrinsically wrong with those costs being passed along – it’s the nature of corporations to do so, after all.  What I object to is the morality of doing so when easily implementable solutions are available to those corporations.  That’s where citizen activism comes in – if the corporations refuse to think outside their little box, other people can and will.

It would be relatively straightforward to alleviate cost increases to both energy providers and energy users.  How?  Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards.  Renewable Energy Standards have been implemented in a number of states (Colorado was the first) and will be done nationally as well.  That’s only part of the energy equation.  Energy efficiency, as I’ve written before, provides a low-cost method of significantly reducing our energy requirements.  People can and have already done so in individual cases.  It’s time to direct energy providers to do the same on a much larger scale.  Imposing costs on greenhouse gas polluters merely introduces a situation in which it makes even more sense to implement Energy Efficiency Standards on a national-scale.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides the following argument for enacting a national-scale EES:

Currently, new conventional base-load production sources generate electricity at a rate between $0.073 and $0.135 per kilowatt-hour.  At a cost of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour saved, efficiency improvements are significantly less expensive than building new plants and power lines and burning more fuel.

More power is going to be requested by users in the future.  Efficiency technologies today can offset 85% of projected 2030 demand.  85% of projected demand could cost half or one-fourth as much as what energy corporations are going to want to charge Americans.  The potential savings are estimated at nearly $170 billion per year by 2020 if an EES is put in place.  Why wouldn’t we implement such a strategy?

Locally in Colorado, HB07-1146 was one of the first pieces of legislation to reflect the vision of Governor Ritter’s New Energy Economy.  Colorado is currently one of 18 states nationally to have adopted energy efficiency standards.  That effort would be strengthened by a national effort.  Implemening a national energy efficiency standard would improve the efficacy of a national renewable energy standard, something else Colorado has enacted.

Such an effort is underway:

The Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America supports a federal EERS, a target that would require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. This EERS is included in both House and Senate versions (H.R. 889 and S. 548) of the Save American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY).

I would really like to see this effort make its way through the Congress with a minimum of fuss or change.  The globe could use some relief from our greenhouse forcing.  Energy efficiency is a highly reachable method of doing that in the short term.  It would mean energy corporations would receive less money in the future than they would if their lies to Americans were to beat this effort back.  I don’t plan on letting that happen.  I want to save money in the future and save the climate now.

Cross-posted at SquareState.


3 thoughts on “Efficiency Standard Would Take Bite Out Of Higher Energy Costs

  1. Well said. I couldn’t agree more. There is a lot of technology toting that comprises the green movement for lots of people–which makes a stilled definition of what sustainability truly entails. In the end it is not only a technological fix, it is a fundamental change in lifestyle and culture. For America, it’s to stop being wasteful with our energy in a way that would probably only minimally affect our daily lives.

    Without a doubt, efficiency (which really also includes the water and trash cycles as well) is the cheapest way to make a meaningful difference immediately.

  2. Thanks, T. Caine. You state it quite succinctly: a fundamental change with minimal affects on our daily lives is what energy efficiency is all about. Since it’s the cheapest solution, it should be the most accessible and most easily adapted.

  3. Pingback: Quick Hit: Colorado’s Energy Efficiency Stimulus Funding « Weatherdem’s Weblog

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