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Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wise energy use

Production is just part of the state’s energy puzzle.

October 9, 2007

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Many Kansas residents and officials currently are pondering the best way to meet the state's future energy demands. Should we increase our use of biofuels and wind power or invest in new coal-fired plants to generate electricity?

At least a partial answer to that question may be "none of the above."

Although the state will have to depend on some combination of traditional and innovative sources to provide the energy needed to serve homes and businesses, energy conservation measures that could reduce that need are an important piece of the puzzle. To the extent that we can reduce the energy we use, we can reduce our dependence and investment in energy production and some of the negative environmental impacts that go with it.

Conservation has drawn the attention of state officials, including the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Kansas Energy Council. The energy council will meet this week to discuss possible legislative initiatives such as expanding weatherization assistance to low-income households, funding energy conservation education in schools, and raising energy efficiency standards for commercial and industrial buildings. The KCC appears close to ruling that it has the right to order utility companies in the state to establish energy efficiency programs.

The point here is not to choke off business development or force state residents to swelter through a hot Kansas summer without air conditioning, but to entice residents and business to support energy conservation through everyday actions and when investing in equipment and buildings.

Amid all the concern about global warming and greenhouse gases, new focus has been put not only on harmful emissions from power plants but how we can attack the problem through everyday decisions. It may seem impossible for one person or one family to affect this problem, but a widespread conservation effort can have an impact, as illustrated by information from Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

For instance, if every American home replaced just one standard light bulb with a fluorescent bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. Properly using a programmable thermostat not only reduces energy use, but can save a typical family $150 a year.

Meeting the state's energy needs demands a two-pronged approach. We not only need to produce energy, we also need to use that energy in the most economic and efficient way possible.

Comments

JohnBrown 7 years, 2 months ago

If builders aligned new homes they make 7 degrees west of solar south the annual energy savings per house would be the equivalent of one barrel of oil per house per year.

Unfortunately, it's not big, not sexy, and there's no incentive for the builder, so it will never be considered seriously as a stand alone item, but perhaps it could be packaged with some other passive solar and other design items to warrant encouragement by the planning commission.

huntershaven 7 years, 2 months ago

While I support conservation of energy supplies, I will point out that Jevons Paradox will apply to just about any conservation efforts. It doesn't mean we shouldn't try to be more efficient though our efforts may increase consumption.

To understand what I mean visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_p....

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 2 months ago

Here we go again. Hey KCC, in case you forgot, in the early 90s you mandated utilities implement Demand Side Management (DSM) programs you integrated into something call "Integratred Resource Planning".

It didn't work, but smart utilities made a lot of money on incentives given for implementing these programs.

Maybe this time the utilities should be incentivized by the wonderful reduction in their customers' needs and the benefits it gives to their overtaxed power plants they continually whine about.

KCC and CURB, look back on the old DSM programs and DON'T do those again. Make the utilities devise, implement and reap the benefits of the load altering programs.

Otherwise, they'll just get in line for free money like they did last time.

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