Study: Energy Consumption to Drop 5 to 15 Percent by 2020
September 27, 2011 11:57 AM
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The conclusions come from a survey of 50 government, academic and industry experts
It's common to walk into stores and see certain appliances with the Energy Star label, meaning these refrigerators and washing machines are energy efficient. Efforts such as this are made to reduce our
, and while the International Energy Outlook 2011 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that worldwide energy will increase 53 percent by 2035, two economists say otherwise.
According to a paper written by economists Ahmad Faruqui and Doug Mitarotonda, who work for consulting firm The Brattle Group, the consumption of electricity will decrease 5 to 15 percent by 2020. The conclusions come from a survey of 50 government, academic and industry experts, according to
Faruqui and Mitarotonda say that the drop will occur due to Energy Star appliances, less usage of incandescent light bulbs, incentives that encourage users not to consume as much energy during peak hours (such as tiered pricing and
smart meter technology
), and other programs that raise awareness of people's energy consumption.
"The survey results clearly repudiate the notion that the age of energy efficiency has come to an end," wrote Faruqui and Mitarotonda in the paper. "On the contrary, they herald a new beginning for energy efficiency."
Faruqui and Mitarotonda referred to this age of energy efficiency as integrated demand-side management, or iDSM. This era, according to the economists, encompasses the above-mentioned practices taking place to lessen energy use.
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9/27/2011 1:50:00 PM
I agree with your sentiment, but the article specifically states that "consumption of electricity will decrease 5 to 15 percent by 2020", so my thought was that the decrease in fossil fuel usage would be transferring over to electric. It is an interesting (and probably very complicated) question as to which form of energy is the most efficient (given extraction, processing, delivery, etc...).
9/27/2011 3:47:07 PM
Electricity is pretty much the best (most efficient, cheapest) form we have for generating and transmitting energy. The problem with electricity in transportation and mobile applications is that it's very expensive to store.
Two AA batteries which cost you $0.80 at Costco hold about 0.1 cents worth of electricity. That is, 0.12% of the money you're shelling out is for the electricity, 99.88% is for the container used to store the electricity. Your laptop battery that costs $50 to replace? About half a cent to 1 cent worth of electricity. The half dozen car batteries to power an electric golf cart? About $1 worth of electricity. The 600 lb battery on the Nissan Leaf which gets you 70 miles according to the EPA? $2.88 worth of electricity (ignoring charging losses).
So you can see why if at all possible, devices are powered by plugging in rather than using batteries.
And I agree with you, transitioning to electric vehicles is going to drive electricity use way up. It shouldn't dramatically impact rates initially though, as most of the increased usage is going to be during evening and night, when we currently have lots of excess generation capacity.
9/27/2011 5:49:26 PM
You're right. This article's title says "Energy" and the content says "Electricity." I don't suppose Tiffany would like to update one or the other to reflect the actual study. I believe it's a very important distinction. Electricity usage will most certainly increase as more EV's hit the road.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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