Energy Efficiency Pays Best

November 7, 2017 Posted by kyu7

In some parts of the Northeast, the skyrocketing cost of oil could cause residential winter heating bills to climb as high as $7,000. Oil reached $145 a barrel in late May, and many analysts are predicting $150-200 per barrel oil within two years. With heating oil averaging $4.71 a gallon, natural gas rates headed for a 20 to 30 percent rise. Add that to electricity bills up, some municipalities are shifting to four-day work weeks, and moving aggressively into renewable energy & energy efficiency.

Utah made headlines in July by becoming the first to put most state employees on a four-day week of 10-hour days. About one-third of the state’s 3,000 government buildings will be closed on Fridays, with expected savings on heat and air conditioning to hit $3 million a year. Commuters will also save on gasoline. Utah’s Governor Jon Huntsman said, “The reaction from the public has been very much a willingness to give this a go.”

Energy efficiency is happening in all sectors. Behavior is changing rapidly in light of higher prices; SUV and light truck sales have dipped 30-60% (depending on the brand) over the last year. Small car sales are up. Total “vehicle miles traveled” dipped for the first time since 1979. Yet, in the 1970s after the oil embargo prompted conservation habits for about a decade, U.S. Americans returned to wasteful ways, as oil prices dropped, ignoring past lessons.

The difference this time is that higher prices are prompted mostly by fundamental supply and demand issues. Peak oil production is either already here, or will be sometime between 2010-2015 at the latest. When global peak oil production is reached, prices will be far higher than today’s.

In order to lessen our dependence on oil, and keep our economy moving, energy efficiency is essential. This past July, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman met with the energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries, plus China, India and South Korea, to discuss ways to enhance global energy security while simultaneously combating global climate change. The G8, which includes Canada, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US, established the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). It states that energy efficiency is one of the quickest, greenest and most cost-effective ways to address energy security and climate change while ensuring economic growth.

Meanwhile, financial support for the federal assistance “weatherization” program here in the US, which helps low-income families be more energy efficient, has dramatically declined. President Bush proposed eliminating the program entirely. An Energy Dept spending bill before the Senate, would provide $201 million for the fiscal year beginning in October ($40 million less than was supplied in 2007), while winter heating costs have soared. Bush, and GOP presidential candidate John McCain, and Republicans in Congress have touted drilling as the primary short-term solution to rising energy prices, despite the fact that opening offshore areas to production wouldn’t lower gasoline prices until about 2030 — if it does at all.

Currently, the average price for natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) shows an increase of 33% this year. New Jersey customers will pay another 18% based on an increase requested by NJ Natural Gas to take effect this coming October, and another 15% or more expected next year. Between 2002 and 2007, the price of natural gas nearly doubled, according to the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU), with corresponding increases in the price of electricity and heating fuels in New Jersey.

To address the steadily rising prices of energy, New Jersey created an Energy Master Plan. Its primary goal is to maximize energy conservation and energy efficiency. Reducing energy consumption through conservation and efficiency is the most cost-effective way to help lower utility bills, increase reliability, and lower the state’s contributions to global warming and other air pollutants. Reductions of energy use by at least 20% by 2020, as Governor Corzine has directed, would yield annual electricity savings of 20,000 GWh per year and annual heating savings of 119 trillion BTUs, and result in substantial cost savings, thereby promoting economic growth in the state.

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