Ever since I got the ping from Aaron Goldfelder that this article was up, I’ve been meaning to share the link and add a few thoughts. I think the folks at EnergySavvy, in their piece on nuclear power and energy efficiency, have done an excellent job laying out some of the advantages of putting energy-efficiency at the core of a sound energy policy. The applies not just as the national and regional level, but all the way down to our individual homes, where part of the GreenHomes mantra is “reduce before you produce”.
For half the cost of replacing one nuclear power plant, we can retrofit 1,600,000 homes for energy efficiency and create 220,000 new jobs–that’s more than 90 times more jobs than you’d get from a power plant replacement. –EnergySavvy.com
The following graphic that the Savvy folks put together illustrates a couple of great points. For an equivalent base load impact, energy-efficiency is cheaper AND it has a bigger economic impact in the form of job creation–jobs that mean more more dollars for families to spend on pizza, college, or a day at the lake, or generally just more money flowing around our communities.
This mirrors the findings of the much-heralded McKinsey report which pointed out that, go figure, reducing energy use actually saves money! It saves money in the aggregate–and it saves money in your home.
My point is not an anti-nuclear one. We do, though, need to look at energy policy overall. Unless we descend into silliness, this shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Left and right can agree because energy-efficiency–along with the benefits of greater energy independence, national security, and economic security–makes sense. And thus efficiency should be the cornerstone of any good energy policy.