Interesting blog on the Washington Post highlighting the work of research group E2e.
Most, if not all of it, applies to Manitoba and the ongoing debate whether our power utility Manitoba Hydro should be building the new Keeyask and Conawapa hydroelectric generating stations, or looking at less costly, less risky ways to deliver power to our light bulbs, fridges and air conditioners.
One way is to get us to become more efficient in the power we consume, like getting rid of old appliances.
Manitoba Hydro has, in some circles at least, been slammed for not doing enough to curb energy use, what's otherwise known as demand-side management.
Critics say by Hydro being more aggressive in demand-side management, more Manitobans will use less power, making it available for export and reducing in part the demand for new dams. Plus, it would put less pressure on what you and I pay each month to Hydro.
This was most recently addressed at a recent Public Utilities Board meeting.
Ex-PUB chairman Graham Lane has raised it in a recent piece for the Frontier Centre For Public Policy.
"Reducing energy consumption and demand allows for deferrals/delays in building new generation and transmission lines (which can be very useful, particularly in times of low export demand), or, in the case of jurisdictions that have excess supply, enhancing exports and incremental export revenues," Lane said.
"Reducing energy consumption also assists in environmental objectives, which even in the case of Manitoba Hydro are furthered by energy efficiency, particularly when it is due to extreme cold, extreme heat, equipment failure, or a drought, the utility is required to import power, with most of the power coming from coal-fired generation in the United States."
But, as the Post blog points out, what's the best way to reduce energy consumption?
Seal leaks around our home's windows? Replace all the windows altogether? Insulate the basement? Outfit every light everywhere with a CFC bulb?
Get rid of the old fridge?
We all know we should be doing these things and more, but a lot of us aren't.
One reason is cost. Another is our relatively low electricity and natural gas rates.
The argument goes because we pay so little there's no incentive for us to shell out the bucks to re-insulate the entire house or buy new kitchen appliances.
The savings aren't there. Yet. And until we really get hit in the pocketbook for the power we consume, nothing will change that.