Posts Tagged ‘McKinsey cost curve’

Speaking of natural gas, the “fracking” debate heats up. Where is efficiency in the conversation?

September 14, 2010

As reported in the Christian Science Monitor, the debate over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”, is a hot one, coming to a head at EPA hearings in New York.  The article is worth a read, and points again to a broarder issue.  There is no free lunch when it comes to energy.  And generating electricity or heating our homes come at a real cost.  Some we pay directly on our utility bills.  Others we pay indirectly, on on tax bill, with government subsidies, tax breaks and such, and with increased costs in other arenas such as reduced water quality and other environmental damage that we wind up footing the bill for later.

And yet our energy policy and our energy practices pay way too little attention to energy efficiency.  The McKinsey report indicated that investing in efficiency could SAVE the country half a trillion dollars.  Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute have been banging the drum for years (and saving some of their corporate clients millions in energy costs).  Linc Services is saving Massanutten Academy almost $7 million.  And we know our customers have been saving a lot in homes.  But it’s time a lot more people got on board with the common sense approach of energy efficiency first.  As we make reduce our energy needs, solving the energy problem gets a lot easier.

Thanks,
Mike

Efficiency First–A Vermont View

October 11, 2009

There was an interesting piece in today’s Burlington Free Press about the value of energy-efficiency and the good economics of starting with efficiency rather than with renewables.  This is the same mantra we’ve been repeating at GreenHomes, the conclusion reached in this year’s McKinsey Group report, and that a group of contractors and other members of Efficiency First was repeating to House and Senate members last week in Washington, DC.  [While you're hitting the Free Press, check out a Q&A with Bill McKibben.]

Quoting the article:

Here are three options to substantially reduce heating cost and energy use, assuming current fuel prices:

 • Solar electric panel at a total cost of $185,000 with a homeowner cost of $74,000 and a taxpayer cost of $111,000. This amounts to $2,700 in savings a year.

• Geothermal heat pump at a total cost of $80,000 with a homeowner cost of $56,000 and a taxpayer cost of $24,000. This amounts to $1,670 in savings a year.

• 80 percent reduction in energy use through efficiency at a total cost of $55,000 with homeowner cost of $53,000 with taxpayer cost of $2,000. This amounts to $2,200 in savings a year.

Hmmm…that third option sounds better for the homeowner, the taxpayer, and the utility.
And speaking of Vermont, Vermont Congressman Peter Welch spoke to that above-mentioned group of contractors Wednesday night at Union Station in DC.  Congressman Welch has taken a strong leadership position on energy policy.   He was quoted from earlier remarks several times through the week.  “We should have the policy of efficiency first.”  Yes we should!

Thanks,
Mike

Efficiency First!

June 29, 2009

It’s good to see some journalists getting this right.   In a June 8 article, Thomas Content of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal pointed out the need to look at energy-efficiency first, before renewables like  wind.  Drawing on the McKinsey cost curve (here, as depicted in National Geographic) and other studies, showing as he quotes DOE Secretary Chu, “Energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit lying on the ground.”

Sari Krieger of the Wall Street Journal also covers this in her June 15 article “Before Adding, Try Reducing”.   She quotes Peter Welch of Vemont, “We should have the policy of efficiency first.”

Thanks,
Mike

It Starts at Home: National Geographic article

March 9, 2009

This month’s National Geographic has a nice article about the big picture of saving energy at home.   My favorite part of this article is a great depiction of the McKinsey cost curve showing that energy-efficiency in buildings makes a lot of sense—it’s something we should be aggressively pursuing regardless of climate change or energy security. We should be doing it because it saves us money! As the WSJ article that I mentioned in my last post says, efficiency is the right place to start. 

Thanks,
Mike


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