Energy Efficiency Is Best Policy

Says American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

1 min read

OK. it's special pleasing by an organization that has a stake in the outcome. But still, the results of the ACEEE study released yesterday are plausible and important to always bear in mind, as the United States contemplates how to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. Generally the cheapest way to do that, says ACEEE, is to improve the efficiency with which energy is used throughout the economy rather than increase the amount of energy delivered. In the electricity sector, it says, the cost of acquiring an added widget of efficiency has held fairly steady during the last five years  at about 2.5  cents per kilowatt-hour, while costs for new coal- or nuclear-generated electricity have gone up, along with virtually all other generating costs.

Generally, claims ACEEE, new generation will cost three or four times as much as improved  conservation.

If you want to know precisely how ACEEE arrives at those figures don't ask me. Read the report.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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