While the State of New York hashes out deep disagreement over how to deal with sugary megadrinks that contribute to obesity, maybe they can turn their attention to something a little less complicated — like mapping a full conversion to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 20 years.
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With early stage capital for cleantech innovation becoming increasingly scarce, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and a new crop of clean/green ones are beginning to emerge as significant sources of funding for selected next-gen clean technologies. Hurdles remain, particularly for investors seeking returns, but I’m more optimistic abou
China will step up efforts to cut its emissions and improve energy efficiency this year after record air pollution in Beijing, where the national legislature opened its annual meeting today.
A program tracking U.S. green jobs, faulted by Republican lawmakers, will be scrapped by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of automatic budget cuts set to take effect today, according to a person familiar with the decision.
After a difficult first year in 2011, during which Chevrolet sold a mere 7,671 Volts, sales of the vehicle shot up to a respectable 23,461 car sales for 2012 — driven largely by consumer demand reacting to high gas prices. According to the Washington Post (hat tip to Treehugger) that surge looks likely to continue: General Motors will be upping 2013′s production to 36,000 units.
Able to run on electrical or gasoline power, the Volt — along with other hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel-efficient cars — has helped boost job growth in the automotive sector in the face of a sluggish economy. This happened despite a storm of right-wing contempt for fuel-efficient automobile technology over the last few years, which focused largely on the Volt as a symbol of President Obama’s (largely successful) attempts to give the American automotive industry a chance to retool itself and get back on its feet.
Since then, overall hybrid sales increased 50 percent in 2012 from the previous model year, sales of plug-in electric vehicles tripled, and GM itself captured 7 percent of the hybrid market — up 2 percent from the year before. And now the company is looking to bulk up its Volt production by 20 percent:
General Motors Co. is planning to build as many as 36,000 Chevrolet Volts and other plug-in hybrids for worldwide delivery this year, 20 percent more than in 2012, two people familiar with the effort said.
GM is planning to build 1,500 to 3,000 of the fuel- efficient vehicles a month, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the target isn’t public. GM sold about 30,000 Volt and similar Opel Ampera cars globally in 2012, said Jim Cain, a company spokesman, who declined to give a target for this year.
Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has struggled to compete against more successful alternative-power vehicles such as Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius. The CEO originally touted the Volt’s gasoline-and-electric system as the technology of the future and forecast global Volt sales of 60,000 in 2012, before settling for half that amount.
The 36,000 target is “probably a doable number,” Jim Hall, principal of consultancy 2953 Analytics, said. “It will have a full calendar year in Europe” and GM will probably sell more this year now that the Volt is eligible for the car-pool lane in California, he said.
Admittedly, these numbers remain behind GM’s previous hoped-for targets. It still lags Toyota, which boosted its hybrid sales 70 percent in 2012 over the previous model year, dominating the market with 892,519 sales of its various Prius hybrid models worldwide. The Prius starts at $24,200 — and a subcompact Prius model sells for $19,080 — which undercuts GM’s $39,145 four-seat Volt.
So good news for electric and hybrid cars as a whole, and thus for fuel efficiency and the environment. But less so for the Volt itself.
Still, the Chevy Volt has several factors going in its favor. It was selected as 2011′s North American Car of the Year — with 92 percent of those surveyed telling Consumer Reports they would buy open again. Meanwhile, fuel standards are set to require 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, technological moves on the horizon promise to make the car’s lithium ion battery technology lighter and more efficient, and there’s every reason to think high gas prices are here to stay.
Yesterday, I wrote about how my annual green stock trading advice had worked out for my sister and readers (well) and the two stocks where I thought she should take profits: LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU) and Potlatch Corp (NYSE:PCH).
The Alliance to Save Energy's Commission on National Energy Policy included financing as one of the central recommendations in its recent report, "Energy 2030: Doubling U.S. Energy Productivity by 2030." The commission consists of some of the key leaders in energy policy and business in the United States.
Story by Noah Botwinick, contributing author for the PeoplePlanetProfitBlog.com.
What is a Sustainability Audit?
An audit is a systematic evaluation process that is directed at verifying whatever facility, structure or organization getting the audit’s status is in regard to specific criteria. According to the professional association for EHS auditors, an audit is, “a systematic, documented process of objectively collecting and evaluating factual information in order to verify a site or organization’s… status with respect to specific, predetermined criteria (Auditing Roundtable, 1997).” The audit criteria are explicit measures or requirements, such as regulations, standards, performance indicators, metrics, principles, guidelines and corporate directions, that the auditor uses to evaluate the information gathered during the audit process. A sustainability audit is a type of audit that looks into the effectiveness of implemented sustainability programs measured against specific criteria. In other words, a sustainability audit is a way of learning about your facility’s or company’s energy practices and seeing how they compare to other companies and against official standards.
…a sustainability audit is a way of learning about your facility’s or company’s energy practices and seeing how they compare to other companies and against official standards.
Why Should You Get a Sustainability Audit?
1) Save Money:
> Save money on your electricity bills by pinpointing areas where energy is being wasted.
> Many organizations and corporations have been undergoing sustainability audits because there has been evidence that increased financial performance has often resulted from improving performance in environmental areas.
> Additionally, a company showing that it cares about sustainable practices attracts support from socially responsible investing groups.
2) Preventative Measure:
In homes, buildings and facilities, an energy audit can help discover structural and safety problems such as rot and mold, before they lead to more costly damage.
3) Internal management need:
A company looking to manage business risk and opportunity, support internal decision making, and/or build trust within various stakeholder communities can get a sustainability audit.
4) Compliance with Government Regulations:
Getting a sustainability audit can help a corporation or business understand where it needs to fix its sustainable practices in order to comply with government regulations, and can help them deal with these issues.
Getting a sustainability audit can help a company, business or homeowner understand cost-effective improvement opportunities. By seeing all the issues laid out with their respective solutions,
6) Home Improvements:
> Make your home more comfortable and pleasant by figuring out how to properly heat or cool areas that are difficult to maintain at proper temperatures.
> Identify what cheaper options are available for heating and fuel bills.
7) Increase Resale Value:
By auditing your home or business and fixing energy issues or installing energy upgrades and improvements, the resale value of the home or facility is increased; how much depends on the nature and extent of the improvements.
8) Demands from shareholders, employees and financial institutions:
More and more companies are being pushed from stakeholders to look into a broader range of sustainable development issues in regards to an organization’s production. Although companies and businesses have been publishing their own reports regarding the sustainability of their own practices, stakeholders have been demanding audits because they represent an impartial, third-party investigation and report of a corporation’s sustainable practices. Thus, getting an audit improves the credibility of a company in the eyes of the stakeholders.
9) Comparing Energy Practices:
By conducting a sustainability audit, a company can compare its practices to other companies within the same industry to understand where it stands and if further improvements are needed and in what areas. An audit enables this comparison because it measures everyone using the same impartial standards, thus making comparisons useful.
10) Broaden Your Thinking:
A sustainability audit will likely identify dozens of initiatives in areas of a business previously never considered. By having an audit conducted, you will discover areas in your practices that can be improved upon that you didn’t even know about.
Story by Amanda Azzoli, contributing author for the PeoplePlanetProfitBlog.com. The Sustainability Movement has become one of the most important and popular trends in today’s society. Because of this popularity and importance, Sustainability has also become a critical component for any successful business. In order to stay innovative, profitable and relevant, businesses must incorporate sustainability into their core culture and values. However, in order for any company to be successful and stay committed to this endeavor, they all need to have employees that are engaged in the movement. The reason for this is because: Employees are the life of an organization. They make up a company’s structure and they embody the company’s culture and principles. An organization is dependent on its employees because, without employees, an organization cannot survive.
Employees are the life of an organization. They make up a company’s structure and they embody the company’s culture and principles. An organization is dependent on its employees because, without employees, an organization cannot survive.
This article will discuss important fundamental rules for engaging an employee as well as examine an organization that has proven to be a leading contributor in the sustainability movement.
Because employee engagement is such a large component in the success of any organization, I wanted to review some basic techniques for engaging an employee. These techniques are important because effective communication is required in both our social lives and professional lives. Proper communication is often undervalued and, in some cases, can even be the solution to a failing business or relationship.
The list below is not exhaustive. It includes the techniques that, through my own research, I believe to be the most effective. The techniques for successful employee engagement are as follows:
1. Be specific and realistic with the company’s vision
2. Set measurable achievements with a target deadline.
Measuring employees or an organization’s, achievements motivates employees to work towards a certain goal, within a certain time frame. This eliminates uncertainly, which helps employees stay focused.
3. Choose aspects of the overall goal that are most important.
Decide which aspects of the overall goal are most important and start achieving those.
4. Provide a detailed explanation of why improvement is needed
Explain what the benefits are, both short-term and long-term
5. Most important: Treat employees as important assets
Remember, the employees are the veins of the company, working together to keep the organization alive. Treat them as such.
A great example of an organization that has succeeded in employee engagement and has stayed committed to the sustainability movement is General Electric, a company ranked #1 by Forbes Magazine for Most Sustainable Company. In order to remain committed to sustainability, GE has established a division within the company, GE Citizenship, which is dedicated to solving the world’s most difficult sustainability issues. GE Citizenship focuses on issues regarding the people, planet, and economy. As stated on the GE’s website, GE Citizenship “focuses on areas where we can make a difference, either through the way we operate within the business, the marketplace, or through our broader influence in society” (gecitizenship.com).
GE Citizenship continuously collaborates with its customers, suppliers, regulators, industry bodies, and collaborators around the world. The Citizenship division has created both Advisory Boards and Advisory Panels that focus on sustainability issues, product development, and on ways to “sharpen” the company’s vision. GE acknowledges that trends and issues are ever evolving; therefore, GE needs to constantly change in order to ensure that it is meeting its goals and providing effective service wherever needed.
These panels and boards help GE stay committed and engaged because they not only provide information to the external environment about GE efforts, but they also provide GE’s internal environment, its employees, with a forum where they can raise issues, or dilemmas faced by other corporations, both domestic and global.
Another way GE keeps its employees engaged is by recognizing their value in the culture. For example, on the company website, the first sentence under GE’s Principles reads, “Our people are our biggest asset,” and goes on to say, “a legacy of good citizenship runs deep in our culture” (gecitizenship.com). GE recognizes that its employees are crucial to the fruition of the company’s goals and principles, and demonstrates this by listing its employee value as its first principle. GE understands that without its employees’ commitment and engagement, the company mission is unattainable.
One additional way GE keeps its employees engaged is by encouraging volunteer work. Employees not only volunteer as individuals, but they also volunteer during GE sponsored events. These company sponsored events are an integral part of the GE’s success because they promote teamwork and help foster bonds between employees.
GE is a great example of a company that has successfully committed to sustainability within its workforce, as well as successfully motivated its employees to be engaged in the cause. GE remains successful because, in addition to sustainability and its employees, GE values integrity and transparency. The company is very proud, and therefore, is public about its efforts to better the planet, which demonstrates confidence and honesty. GE is proud of the work its employees produce and wants to share it with others. GE’s employees are driven by ethical and sustainable values that continue to benefit the company, as well as the planet.
US president Barack Obama maintained his commitment to renewable energy in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
The price of solar photovoltaics (PV) modules continue to decline.
Dan Lashof via NRDC’s Switchboard
Last July I published an issue brief called Closer than You Think, pointing out that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 were lower than many people realized—about 9 percent below their 2005/2007 peak—putting President Obama’s 17-percent-below -2005-levels reduction target within reach. Since then recognition that U.S. emissions have been falling has become more widespread. In October, Dallas Burtraw and Matthew Woerman at Resources for the Future argued that the U.S. is “on course” to achieving a 16.3 percent reduction by 2020. Last week the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released a report documenting the rapid growth in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas generation over the last few years and estimating that U.S. 2012 carbon dioxide emissions were almost 13 percent below 2005 levels. This week the World Resources Institute released an analysis asking “Can The U.S. Get There From Here?” and senior associate Nicholas Bianco said “The U.S. is not yet on track to hit its 17 percent target.”
So are we there yet or what? The apparent dispute between WRI and RFF is largely semantic, of the glass-is-half-full v. half-empty kind. The RFF report actually showed that the U.S. is only “on course” if the EPA does its job of setting global warming pollution standards for power plants and several other categories of stationary sources which it had examined in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking back in July 2008. EPA has set standards for mobile sources and proposed a standard for new power plants, but stationary source standards that will have a big impact on emissions, particularly standards for existing power plants, remain a work in progress. WRI, for its part, noted that the 2020 target is achievable using existing tools if the federal government takes an ambitious “go getter” approach. WRI finds that 90 percent of the reductions needed by 2020 can come from four measures: carbon pollution standards for existing power plants; phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); reducing methane emissions from oil and gas production and distribution; and increasing energy efficiency standards for appliances and other energy-using equipment. Even if federal standards end up being “middle of the road,” WRI finds that the 2020 target could still be attained if states adopt more aggressive “go getter” policies.
How realistic is it to think we can achieve the emission reductions in WRI’s “go-getter” scenario? Here is where the BCSE/BNEF report helps, with more than one-hundred figures that paint a picture of the major changes underway in America’s energy system that have already achieved about three-quarters of the targeted reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. (Note that the WRI and RFF reports look at reducing total global warming pollution by 17 percent, which is a somewhat more challenging task, given projected growth in the non-CO2 gases which account for about 20 percent of the total). The BCSE/BNEF report highlights the recent dramatic growth in three major technologies: energy efficiency, renewables, and natural gas. (The report misleadingly labels these collectively as “sustainable” energy, when natural gas, while cleaner-burning than other fossil fuels, is by definition not sustainable). Let’s take a look at each of these technologies in turn.
The data presented in the BCSE/BNEF report show clearly that energy efficiency has been the energy policy success story of the last 30 years. Since 1970 total natural gas used in our homes has remained essentially flat while the number of households has increased by over 70% (Figure 22). In commercial buildings overall energy use per square foot has declined substantially since 1980, while electricity use per square foot has increased slightly, although not nearly as much as you would expect given the huge increase in the number of computers, printers, and servers we now stuff into our offices (Figure 91). There is still plenty of room for improvement. Most large office buildings are now Energy Star certified, but that is not the case with smaller office buildings and other types of commercial buildings, such as stores, schools, and hospitals.
The promise of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, has been much discussed for decades, but that promise has only become a large scale reality in the last few years. The U.S. added 17 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity last year—a new record. Overall, non-hydro renewable electricity capacity has doubled in the last five years to almost 86 GW, which is approaching the hydro capacity of about 100 GW (Figure 8, 9). Wind remains the largest share of this capacity, but the growth in solar has been the most dramatic. Last year alone more than 3 GW of solar capacity was installed, bringing the total solar capacity up to 8 GW—a four-fold increase compared with just four years ago.
This explosive growth has been driven by key federal and state policies, but also by an equally dramatic drop in cost. The price of photovoltaic (PV) modules has dropped by more than 75 percent in the last 5 years to well below $1/Watt [Figure 35, top]. Progress has also been made in reducing balance-of-system costs, bringing total installed costs to under $2/Watt in some cases. This means that the unsubsidized levelized cost of solar electricity can be below 10 cents/kWh under favorable circumstances, and averages around 15 cents/kWh, which is less than retail electricity prices in many parts of the country.
The drop in natural gas prices since their peak in 2008 has been every bit as dramatic as the drop in the price of PV modules (Figure 26). Unlike with renewables (and contrary to the terminology used in the BCSE/BNEF report) this is not sustainable. The drop in gas prices was driven by a simultaneous increase in supply due to application of innovative drilling techniques, particularly hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), and a reduction in demand due to the Great Recession. Both of these factors have shifted recently as very low gas prices have reduced drilling activity and increased demand, particularly when the cost of generating electricity with natural gas at existing power plants drops below that of coal (Figure 27). As a result, after bottoming out in April 2012, natural gas prices have begun to rebound and are projected to return to more “normal” levels of $4-5 per million Btu over the next year or two.
Low natural gas prices certainly contributed to the drop in carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 as gas-fired generation replaced coal. In the absence of power plant carbon pollution standards, however, some of these reductions will be reversed as natural gas prices rebound. Meanwhile, drilling for natural gas creates a host of problems for affected communities, for public health, and for the environment. In particular, increased methane leaks from natural gas production and distribution could offset much of the climate benefits from reducing dependence on coal. Moreover, as we think beyond the 17-percent-by-2020 target to the much deeper reductions we need to make in subsequent years it becomes clear that we will need to phase out carbon dioxide emissions from all fossil fuels, including natural gas, as quickly as possible.
What all this means is that while we are not there yet, seismic shifts in our energy system due to growth in energy efficiency, renewables, and natural gas make the 2020 global warming pollution reduction target far easier to achieve than had been anticipated just a few years ago. Beyond 2020 the challenge is certainly greater, and more comprehensive policies will be needed, but recent progress, particularly in scaling up wind and solar, makes me optimistic that if we can muster the will, we can find the way to solve the climate crisis.
– Dan Lashof is the director of Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and clean air program.
Rules to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from operating U.S. power plants will be a boon for companies willing to invest in clean energy, said Carol Browner, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
Ten years from now, Super Bowl XLVII will be remembered for several reasons:
- 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
- an energized, though unsuccessful, comeback from the 49ers, and
- a record 164.1 million viewers who saw the Superdome lose electricity for 34 minutes.
Super Bowl XLVII’s blackout wasn’t the first outage at a sporting event, but it may be the first time that such a blackout served as a kickoff for conspiracy theories and misleading facts about energy infrastructure. Here’s a ten-yard run through misleading facts that have been attributed to the blackout.
We need more coal!
Entergy’s claim that there was no problem with energy supply wasn’t enough to deter Peabody Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Boyce, who stated that, “Without coal, you might as well turn off half the lights not just for our favorite games but also for our cities, shops, factories and homes.” Yet coal use in power plants has dropped from 50 to 36 percent, based on the low cost of natural gas, and the high cost of respiratory problems from its pollution. Coal-powered electric plants are the nation’s top source of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution, the primary source of climate change. Power plant emissions also cause smog, which triggers a host of health problems from lung damage, asthma attacks, and chest pain. Boyce’s claims aren’t just wrong—they’re dangerous.
We need to drill more!
Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, said that the Super Bowl outage “helps to perhaps kick-start the debate,” as she released her energy plan blueprint that gives a big boost to increased drilling for oil and gas. “We’ve got this Immaculate Conception theory of energy: It just happens, the lights turn on, it’s the temperature we want, until it’s not,” said the Senator. Oil isn’t generally used for electricity, though natural gas is a significant fuel for power plants. Regardless of what happened at the Super Bowl, an energy plan relying on fossil fuels gives us temperatures we really don’t want, in the form of global warming.
Energy efficiency caused the power outage!
Others tried to blame the Superdome’s 26,000 LED lights for the blackout, despite the fact that energy efficient lights reduce strain on the electrical grid and can help prevent blackouts. This sly finger-pointing was quickly shot down when others noticed that the LED lights were on the outside of the stadium — and did just fine.
Blame it on Beyonce!
Pop stars aren’t often blamed for infrastructure failures, but Beyonce’s high-voltage halftime performance raised theories that the brightly lit show caused an electric demand overload. Not so, says the Superdome’s manager — the performance was lit with generators.
While we haven’t quite discovered the true cause of the outage, this year’s Superbowl has sparked a new kind of Monday morning quarterbacking about energy infrastructure. Let’s hope that by next January, people will stop making the blame game the next “Superbowl shuffle,” end tired plays to promote dirty fossil fuels, and instead make forward passes on energy efficiency, cleaner power, and smart grid reform.
Danielle Baussan is the Associate Director of Government Affairs at the Center for American Progress
Story by Noah Botwinick, contributing author for the PeoplePlanetProfitBlog.com.
Brief History of Supply Side Energy in America:
During the early 20th century in the US, the market of energy suppliers was dominated by a few large companies. This system essentially had the characteristics of a monopoly; the energy companies could charge whatever prices they wanted and if you wanted energy, you had to comply with their demands. In this system, energy companies had no pressing incentive to develop more efficient energy transmission technologies. In the middle of the 20th century, this system became largely federal and state-government regulated, so again, you didn’t really have much of a choice as to who was supplying you with your energy needs. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the energy market was largely deregulated, paving the way for independent companies to begin supplying energy to Americans.
The opening up of the supply-side of energy to independent businesses re-introduced competition into the market, as energy companies fought with one another for customers. Since customers could now choose who supplied them with electricity and natural gas, these supply companies began looking for ways to lower their prices so as to attract customers, as in any business. The way these companies sought and are seeking to supply and transmit their energy to their customers at a cheaper rate is by looking to become more energy efficient in their energy generation and transmission.
Energy Efficiency in Producing Energy
Becoming energy efficient is important for any company or business, but it is particularly critical if your business involves the production and transmission of energy. Energy production is the process of making the electricity itself, and energy transmission refers to bringing that electricity to the user in a form that the user can use. Thus, becoming more energy efficient in the supply-side of electricity means to waste less energy in the production of energy and to waste less energy in bringing that energy to the consumer. Competition within this market has led to the utilization of certain technologies that can cut down on the amount of energy lost, specifically through the uses of renewable energy and green products.
Additionally, in the early systems of the electric power industry, electricity had a relatively low voltage and thus couldn’t be transmitted very far away from the electrical power plant. Thus, even if someone developed a more efficient way of producing power and was offering customers electricity at a cheaper rate, only the people living within a close vicinity of that power plant could reap the benefits of this cheaper power. Now, however, due to newer technologies such as steam turbines, power can be transmitted to customers that are much farther away. Therefore, independent energy companies can develop ways of producing electricity more efficiently and can offer this product to customers across the country.
These power companies that produce and transmit electricity more efficiently are also able to so easily provide power to customers at a cheaper rate because of existing delivery methods. Such delivery methods generally consist of medium-voltage power lines, substations, pole-mounted transformers and low voltage distribution wiring. Using the same power lines that currently provide electricity to homes and businesses, energy companies can provide power from their more energy efficient plants to any home or business without having to build new delivery methods. It’s like if you added a more efficient central heating system into your home to replace the existing heat source, the heat would still flow through your house through the same heating system; the only difference would be that the heat itself now costs less. This is the concept behind changing energy providers; it is simply reducing the cost of the energy you pay for without changing anything else.
Changes in Energy Production Methods: Renewable Energy
Traditional energy supplies come from non-renewable energy sources. Non-renewable energy is energy that is taken from sources that are of finite quality and will, at some point in the near future, run out. Energy that comes from non-renewable energy sources has detrimental environmental effects and contributes to global warming, according to most scientists. This form of energy, which comes from fossil fuels, natural gas, oil and coal, cannot be regenerated within a short period of time. Also, because fossil fuels are limited and are becoming rapidly depleted, prices for fossil fuels are always on the rise. Unfortunately, fossil fuels also have benefits as an energy source, and that’s why they are used so prevalently as energy sources around the globe. Non-renewable energy sources can produce energy cheaply, and fossil fuels can also generate large amounts of electricity. Additionally, they are readily available for use and can be converted to energy relatively simply. Nonetheless, if we continue to rely solely on non-renewable energy sources for our energy, there will be significant negative effects on the global environment, not to mention that if we continue to do so we will run out of these finite sources in less than 100 years, according to many scientists.
Luckily, many are now looking to another source of energy. Today, roughly 16% of the earth’s energy comes from renewable energy sources.
Roughly 16% of the earth’s energy comes from renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat. The reason it’s called renewable is because energy that comes from these sources can be produced over and over. There are many benefits of using renewable energy. First of all, they are plentiful; in other words, they come from sources that don’t run out. They are also the cleanest form of energy, in that, unlike energy derived from coal or oil, energy derived from these sources has low carbon emissions and doesn’t pollute the atmosphere. Another benefit of using renewable energy sources to provide energy is that they are available in every country; thus, the US wouldn’t have to rely on third-party countries for oil and could avoid price hikes, oil embargoes and being coerced by other countries that we rely on for oil. Renewable energy sources will be cheaper in the long run as traditional sources of energy begin to run out and prices skyrocket. Forms of renewable energy include wind power, hydro-electric power, solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy, tidal energy and nuclear energy.
What are the Economic Benefits of Supply Side Energy?
Asides from the environmental, health and political benefits of using renewable energy sources, there are significant economic benefits in switching energy suppliers. By switching energy suppliers, all you’re doing is switching who pumps the electricity into the wires that are already connected to your house. The only cost you’re paying is simply for the electricity itself. Therefore, if energy suppliers can produce the energy at cheaper cost than companies that rely on non-renewable sources of energy, the consumer can benefit from this lower cost simply by switching energy companies. When picking what energy supplier to use, it’s important to understand how they produce their energy. This is because renewable energy has many benefits, both for the individual, the state and for the earth. Here are some reasons highlighting the importance of where we get our energy from.
- Generally, switching your home to an energy company that relies on renewable sources of energy can result in savings of just over one cent per kilowatt per hour. Doesn’t sound like a lot; however, considering that according to the department of energy the average household in the US uses approximately 10,656 kilowatt-hours per year according to the Department of Energy, these savings can amount to significant amounts, especially for a business, especially because they require no changes in quality of the product and only require enough effort to make a phone-call.
- Also, while energy companies that get their energy from non-renewable sources will have to raise their prices as energy sources become depleted in the future, customers who receive their energy from non-renewable energy-source generators can enjoy fewer fluctuations in price. Additionally, because energy from renewable energy sources isn’t based on a finite resource, the pricing is much less susceptible to increased demand, decreased supply or other standard market fluctuations. Not only that, but because renewable energy sources are everywhere, the pricing of this energy is also not affected by control or supply disruptions in external locations.
- Another economic benefit of renewable energy is that because some of these technologies, such as solar power units, can be placed in or near the building that is using the energy itself, it can cut down on transmission costs. It can also cut down on the amount of power lines required in a neighborhood, and allows existing power lines to last longer because their load can be reduced. It also cuts down on the amount of power lost through transmission.
- Building local renewable energy plants and new clean energy-based facilities also creates new jobs in the US and sparks economic development in areas where these plants are being built. They employ local construction crews, deal with local banks and hire local workers. It also helps farmers and other landowners, because energy producers often pay to utilize their land for wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy production. Renewable energy production plants also contribute significant amounts of taxes to their regional governments.
Other Benefits of Supply Side Energy:
- Increased fuel diversity by relying on alternate sources of energy
- Transmission reliability from distributed generation, which allows collection of energy from many sources and has less negative environmental impacts as well as improved security of the energy supply.
- Avoided future investment in fossil-fuel generating capacity
- Reduced price of wholesale electricity
- Reduced price volatility by relying on alternative sources of fuel, so that a disruption in one energy resource does not significantly raise the price of electricity
- Reduced fossil-fuel prices from more competition in the energy market
- Reduced transmission congestion and losses, which is when there is a shortage of transmission capacity to supply the waiting energy-users, because the supply side energy industry is building new energy generation plants
How Clean Distributed Generation can Save Money:
Distributed generation refers to power generation at the area where the energy is being used, as opposed to at the area of generation. By generating power at the location itself that is using the energy, it saves on transmission costs, complexity, interdependencies, and inefficiencies that come with electricity distribution. Generally, distributed generation utilizes combustion generators, which is an unclean method of generating energy. There are systems of distributed energy distribution, such as harnessing energy from solid oxide fuel cells, which can produce clean energy around the clock at a low cost, and save money over the long run.
What are Supply Side Clean Energy Policies?
Supply-side clean energy policies and programs affect the nature of the usable energy that is generated from the energy generators. In other words, they alter the composition of energy resources or change the operational characteristics of the energy supply system. Supply-side policy measures generally support the development of utility-scale renewable energy and combined heat and power applications, as well as clean distributed generation.
What are the Economic Benefits of Supply Side Energy Policies?
The direct effects of supply-side initiatives are the costs of manufacturing, installing and operating the renewable energy or combined heat and power equipment supported by the initiative, as well as the energy savings and possible reduced energy supply costs from fuel substitution among entities participating in the supply-side program and their customers. (Combined heat and power generation, other known as cogeneration, is the use of a heat engine or a power station to generate both electricity and useful heat at the same time.) The direct costs and savings of renewable energy, combined heat and power and distributed generated initiatives include displacement savings and waste heat saving. Displacement savings refers to money saved by utilities from the displacement of traditional generation, such as reduced purchases of fossil fuels as well as decreased operation and maintenance costs from energy generation resources, while waste heat savings is the money saved by utilities or other businesses using waste heat in combined heat and power applications for both heating and cooling purposes.
Secretary Steven Chu Announces Departure, Accomplishments in a Letter to Energy Department Employees
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his departure from Department of Energy (DOE) today in a letter addressed to DOE employees. He highlights the many DOE accomplishments over the past four years, with a heavy emphasis on renewable energy developments, energy efficiency and addressing climate change. Read the entire letter below:
Welcome to the confusing and somewhat chaotic world of credentialing! Last month, the result of a marathon endeavor, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reached two national milestones in our commitment to credentialing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our goal – standardized quality training matched with employer needs – train
In late 2011, citizens of Boulder, CO voted to explore how to boot their incumbent electric utility, Xcel Energy, and form a municipal electric utility. It was the culmination of a multi-year battle to get more clean, local energy from their corporate electric overlord. In the end, city leaders and citizens agreed that the only credible option fo
From strategic plans to comfortable shoes The cleantech and power industries have countless conferences and trade shows that offer networking, business development and educational opportunities. I’m not exaggerating. At Tigercomm, we maintain a database of conference opportunities that expands nearly every day. But tight budgets and competing prior
Developers and financiers will invest $1.9 trillion building clean-energy power plants worldwide from 2012 through 2018 as demand for electricity increases, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.