Efficiency! Clean energy of the future, available now
Energy efficiency is clean energy that is available now. It is not conservation, where you use less energy by doing less – but instead is doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, with less energy needed. Energy efficient technologies include higher mileage cars, insulation in your house, compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs), and Energy Star appliances.
Four reasons to love energy efficiency:
1. Money – If we needed to generate more electricity (kWh) to power out homes, we traditionally would build new power plant to supply this need. For a traditional coal plant, the cost of this plant will settle around $2000 per kilowatt of capacity needed – for wind, the cost is around $1800 per kilowatt. If you chose to satisfy this need with a unit of energy efficiency, it would cost you closer to $350 per kilowatt.
2. Environment – A unit of electricity (kilowatt-hour or kWh) avoided reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the same amount as that kilowatt-hour supplied by a clean renewable generator (ex: wind). Energy efficiency is better in terms of water use and land use, (generally) using no water at the use point, where some renewable technologies use and consume water at the generation point.
4. Intermittency – Once I plug-in my energy-efficient refrigerator, I am saving electricity (and money). My savings are not dependent on intermittent renewable resources like wind (the wind doesn’t blow everywhere all the time) or the sun (which rises and sets).