EFFICIENCY – THE CHEAPEST ENERGY
A forthcoming issue of Forbes Magazine will feature Energy + Genius, a series of short essays from innovative thinkers with solutions for the emerging energy challenge.
From Forbes’ intro to Energy + Genius: “Energy consumption is expected to rise by 50% through 2030. Getting there sustainably will require a handful of simultaneous breakthroughs in physics, efficiency and behavior…”
Two of the essays come from Saul Griffith and Amory Lovins, scientists who stress the urgency of improving conservation practices and the efficiency of developing massive New Energy capacity.
Griffith lays out the situation in cold hard numbers. Current consumption will essentially double in the next quarter century from the current 14-to-16 terawatts currently used: “…we need conservation, and 10 or 11 terawatts from other sources.”
In the face of such numbers, Griffith finds biofuels a pointless exercise: “…you'd have to use 20% of agricultural production on biofuels to make a significant dent…”
He isn’t especially encouraging about the potential of other (though preferable) New Energy choices: “You could get maybe three terawatts from all the addressable tidal power in the world…Building 100 square meters of solar panels every second for the next 25 years will get you two of the 10 terawatts…You'll need 50 square feet of solar thermal and a full wind turbine every five minutes..."
The numbers effectively cancel nuclear as the solution since they would demand "...[a] nuclear plant every week...”
Here's Saul Griffith. From OreillyMedia via YouTube.
Lovins coined the term “negawatts” to describe the power of conservation. He uses the term “micropower” to describe electricity generated from distributed sources and recaptured by cogeneration. He puts a lot of faith in the development of these vastly underappreciated options because the price is right: “Unlike nuclear power--so costly that it saves 2 to 11 times less carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times more slowly--[distributed sources and cogeneration] prevent climate change profitably.”
He describes a comprehensive, workable solution that reaches across a set of potentially conflicting points of view to justify a unified, effective effort.
Lovins: “Whether we care about profits, security, or climate, we should bust barriers to deploying super-efficient end-use technologies that can save half our oil and gas and three-fourths of our electricity at an eighth their price; shift supplies toward right-sized networked renewables, profitably building resilience; shift federal policy from hogs at the trough to fair competition at honest prices, between all ways to save or produce energy, regardless of type, technology, size, location or ownership; and reward utilities for cutting bills, not selling more energy.”
Lovins coined the term "institutional acupuncture" to describe the use of conservation and efficiency to identify and clear the points of congestion in businesses and create revolutionary breakthroughs to stimulate and drive the economy.
He brings his most optimistic outlook to his essay: “Stimulated by 'institutional acupuncture,' implementation is underway--we're starting to drill for the Saudi Arabia-sized savings under Detroit.”
Here's Amory Lovins. From ed4wb via YouTube.
Solving Demand Trumps Solving Supply
Build a new nuclear plant every week? I don't think so.
The Saudi Arabia Beneath Detroit
Radical efficiency can decouple us from oil for far less than making more.
Saul Griffith, MacArthur fellow and co-founder, Squid Labs and Makani Power; Amory Lovins, chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute; Other Forbes contributors (Andy Grove, CEO/founder, Intel; Fred Krupp, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Rick Perry, Governor, Texas; Brian Schweitzer, Governor, Montana; Rick Wagoner, CEO, GM)
The forthcoming Energy + Genius from Forbes Magazine will present innovative answers to the world’s energy challenge from prominent players in the field. Saul Griffith and Amory Lovins, 2 of the most distinguished contributors because they are scientists, talk about the value of increased efficiency and conservation and the urgent need for the development of New Energy.
- The magazine’s special feature will be published November 5 in anticipation of the November 11-12 Forbes Energy Conference.
- The Forbes Energy Conference will be in New York.
- The special issue will be available on newsstands and can be read on line.
click for the Forbes feature
Other advocates in the Forbes’ feature and their articles:
(1) We Need Electric Cars Now
The new yardstick: 1 trillion electric-vehicle miles per year within a decade.
(2) We Need A Carbon Cap
It won't cost much and could save the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.
(3) Solving The Energy Gap By Using What You Have
Texas' governor opts for an ''all of the above'' energy policy.
(4) It's The Batteries, Stupid
Montana's governor says storage is what's keeping us back.
(5) The U.S. Has To Take Control Of Its Energy Future
General Motors' chief executive says breakthroughs could come surprisingly soon.
- Griffith: “…You need mostly solar, a lot of wind…We can't afford stupid things like biofuels. We have to look harder at the demand side…”
- Lovins: My book Winning the Oil Endgame has a road map for eliminating U.S. oil use, led by for-profit businesses, at an average cost of $15 per barrel (in year-2000 dollars): half by redoubling efficiency, half by substituting saved natural gas and advanced biofuels.