Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New England Energy Use Drop

New England could decrease its energy use by 18% by using currently available technologies to increase efficiency, according to a report by a coalition of environmental groups, says the Hartford Courant.
The report's recommendations for cutting energy consumption - which would also reduce the region's greenhouse gas emissions - depend on a combination of improving efficiency and using more renewable energy. Key proposals include adopting more efficient technologies for heating, cooling and lighting residential and commercial buildings; increasing fuel economy standards for vehicles; and building wind and solar powered generators in the New England region.

Roger Smith, the campaign director for the Connecticut chapter of Clean Water Action, one of the groups that produced the report, said New England does not need to wait for new technologies before cutting energy use significantly. "If we're ever going to reach our goals, we need to take action now," he said.Solar energy and insulating homes should be on the top of the agenda for Connecticut, Smith said. Wind is probably not a viable source of energy for the state, he said, and any improvements to fuel economy standards cannot be accomplished on the state level.Weatherizing houses would provide immediate reductions in home heating costs, Smith said, and installing solar panels would reduce electricity bills. Although solar panels are not a replacement for conventional power generation, they would take the edge off demand during peak periods - muggy, summer weekdays when factories are humming and businesses and consumers use air conditioning.An 18 percent reduction in energy consumption is "definitely doable," as long as the state continues to support incentives for efficiency, said Jeff Gaudiosi, chairman of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund."The higher the rates go, the more we see people starting to get involved in the efficiency program," he said.Interest in the program has increased significantly in recent years, Gaudiosi said, but the state government has taken money out of the fund to support general expenses. If that continues, the fund may have to reduce the incentives it offers companies who invest in more efficient technology, he said.

But Angela Carter, a lobbyist representing 14 New England power plants, said the region's energy problems cannot be solved with efficiency measures alone."There is no silver bullet," Carter said. "You cannot conserve your way out of the need to build infrastructure."The "anemic" transmission system in Connecticut needs to be overhauled, she said, and more power plants are needed to meet existing demands. Although renewable energy is an "essential component" of Connecticut's energy production, Carter said, past attempts to build renewable facilities have faced difficulties in finding suitable locations.
IREJN is Connecticut's Interfaith Power and Light. Visit us at www.irejn.org.

1 comment:

YJ Draiman said...

AMERICANS INSATIABLE THIRST FOR ENERGY MUST BE MODERATED R3
By YJ Draiman, Energy Development Specialist

As you know, many serious problems are associated with our insatiable thirst for energy. The reason is simple: To gain the energy we must burn the fuels. The combustion, by the way quite inefficient, causes huge gaseous emissions polluting the air and forming an invisible screen responsible for the famous “ green house effect ”, i.e., blocking the dissipation of heat and thus causing the feared warming up of our planet, with deadly consequences for nature and man.
There is only a finite amount of oil in the world. Everybody knows this.
Someday, we'll run out. It will be gone.
Meanwhile, our insatiable thirst for oil -- which we burn -- has put enormous sums of money into the hands of fanatics who hate us and everything we stand for, and who use that oil money to fund the terrorists who murder Jews and Americans wherever they can.
We can't burn oil forever.
And it's bad strategy to base our economy on cheap oil when we have to buy at least some of it from our enemies.
Optimists tell us that the free market will eventually deal with the problem. Their theory is that as oil gets harder to extract cheaply, the price will go up; then other forms of energy will become economically attractive and we'll switch over to them.
Here's why their optimism is nothing short of suicidal.
First, there's no guarantee that without intense government-funded research and financial incentives now, the new energy sources will be available in quantities large enough to replace oil when it does run out.
In other words, if we wait until it's an emergency, our economy could easily crash and burn for lack of energy sources sufficient to drive it.
It's easy to supply energy for an economy that's only a tenth the size of the world's economy today. The question is how many people will die in the resulting chaos and famine, before new free-market equilibrium is established?
Second, how stupid do we have to be to wait until we run out of oil before acting to prevent its waste as a fuel? Petroleum is a vital source of plastics. We could use it for that purpose for hundreds of generations -- if we didn't burn any more of it. But if we wait till we've burned all the cheap petroleum, it won't be just fuel that we have to replace.
Third, market forces don't do anything for our national defense, our national security. We had a clear warning back in the 1970s with the first oil embargo. What if terrorism in the Middle East specifically targets all oil exports, from many countries?
And even if they keep the oil flowing, why are we pumping money into the pockets of militant extremists who want to destroy us? Why are we subsidizing our enemies, when instead we could be subsidizing the research that might set us free from our addiction to oil?
You notice that I haven't said anything about polluting the environment. Because this is not an environmental issue.
In the long run, it's an issue of whether we wish to provide for our children the same kind of prosperity that we've luxuriated in as a nation since World War II.
It is foolish optimism bordering on criminal neglect that we continue to think that our future will be all right as long as we find new ways to extract oil from proven reserves.
Instead of extracting it, we ought to be preserving it.
Congress ought to be giving greater incentives and then creating mandates that require hybrid vehicles to predominate within the next five years.
Within the next fifteen years, we must move beyond hybrids to means of transportation that don't burn oil at all.
Within thirty years, we must handle our transportation needs without burning anything at all.
Predicting the exact moment when our dependence on petroleum will destroy us is pointless.
What is certain is this: We will run out of oil that is cheap enough to burn. We don't know when, but we do know it will happen.
And on that day, our children will curse their forebears who burned this precious resource, and therefore their future, just because they didn't want the government to interfere with the free market, or some other such nonsense.
The government interferes with the free market constantly. By its very existence, government distorts the market. So let's turn that distortion to our benefit. Let's enforce a savings program. But instead of putting money in the bank, let's put oil there.
Oil in the bank ... so our children and grandchildren for a hundred generations can slowly draw it out to build with it instead of burn it.
Oil in the bank ... so we'll be free of the threat of fanatics who seek to murder their enemies -- including us -- with weapons paid for at our gas pumps.
Do you want to know who funded Osama bin Laden? We did. And we continue to do it every time we fill up.
You don't have to be an environmental fanatic to demand that we control our greed for oil.
In fact, you have to be dumb and a fool not to insist on it.
But ... foresight just isn't the American way. We always seem to wait until our own house is burning before we notice there's a wildfire.
Oh, it won't reach us here, we tell ourselves. We'll be safe.
Talk about foolish optimism.
Fair Threat to World Economy But Oil Boycott Improbable
Energy Efficiency Must Be North America’s Priority but Canada and
U.S. Fail on Energy Efficiency Policies
“The despots of the moderate Middle East are non-players save for
their oil in the ground… My concern is that my grand kids might see parts of the
Middle East turned into a nuclear waste land, and Ali Baba and The Forty
Thieves. The world community needs to see a checkmate within the next 60 -
90 days. Failing that, Iran and Syria will be emboldened.” Reiterating an almost
universal view on the panel, this CEO emphasized that the world’s seemingly
The Chinese contribution to the energy crisis
The quest for resources. The dynamic Chinese economy, which has averaged 9 percent growth per annum over the last two decades, nearly tripled the country's GDP, has also resulted in the country having an almost insatiable thirst for oil as well as a need for other natural resources to sustain it. The PRC has been a net importer of petroleum since 1993, and has increasingly relied on African countries as suppliers. As of last year, China was importing approximately 2.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d), which accounts for about half of its consumption; more than 765,000 bbl/d – roughly a third of its imports – came from African sources, especially Sudan, Angola, and Congo (Brazzaville).
To get some perspective on these numbers, consider that one respected energy analyst has calculated that while China's share of the world oil market is about 8 percent, its share of total growth in demand for oil since 2000 has been 30 percent. The much publicized purchase, in January of this year, of a 45 percent stake in an offshore Nigerian oilfield for $2.27 billion by the state-controlled China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) was just the latest in a series of acquisitions dating back to 1993 whereby the three largest Chinese national oil companies – China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), and CNOOC, respectively – have acquired stakes in established African operations.
Our insatiable thirst for Middle East energy is “the oil [that] feeds the fire.”
This idea that we can live in a homogenous cul-de-sac suburban development in our plastic homes driving 50 to 100 miles to work in a 4700lb SUV to our middle management job at Bed Bath and Beyond and expect this way of life to just continue on indefinitely with no consequences represents mind boggling ignorance and negligence towards our future. The "American Dream" is a relic of the Baby Boomer generation and will die with our parents and grandparents. To quote author James Kunstler: "Suburban development in this country represents the single largest misallocation of wealth and resources in the history of the planet."

So could a 900 acre photo voltaic array power a major metropolitan grid. No, probably not. But the question isn't how do we squeeze enough energy out of the technology to accommodate our seemingly insatiable thirst for electricity and fuel but rather how do we cut the fat and waste out of our civilization and our lives and actually live WITHIN our environment with some sort of sustainability. There is no one technology that will provide all our solutions. It will have to be a combination of wind turbines, solar and hydroelectric excluding the remote possibility that some new form of energy production (i.e. cold fusion or something equally fantastical) is unleashed on the world by CERN or ET. These power plants will operate primarily at a local level servicing on a much smaller scale than what we here in North America have been so used to in the last 70 or so years.
IS TECHNOLOGY BEING HELD BACK
New Solar Electric Cells - 80% efficient
Mr. Marks says solar panels made with Lepcon or Lumeloid, the materials he patented, ... Most photovoltaic cells are only about 15 percent efficient. ...
If the American public's insatiable appetite for automobiles continues, uncurbed by any sense of responsibility, someone must, like a parent with a selfish child, at least start slapping wrists.
Perhaps we should ration gasoline, and insist that all cars meet a miles-per-gallon minimum -- one higher than many sport utility vehicles, for example, achieve now. The rationing would not be a wartime figure, of course, but a reasonable amount allowed for business and pleasure.
Americans consume the largest portion of gas in the world and cry the loudest about the price.
The government should repeatedly increase the price of gasoline in an effort to slow our country's insatiable thirst for oil. Utilize the excess profits and taxes to fund research and rebates for renewable efficiency and renewable energy.
YJ Draiman, Energy Analyst – 6/26/2007
but they will keep pumping more in the years ahead to quench our insatiable thirst for energy