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Energy Efficiency as Today's Gateway to Tomorrow's Clean Energy?

image credit: Joys HVAC

As the utility sector, the country as a whole, and indeed the world works to realize a clean energy transition that will hopefully find us staving off the worst potential effects of climate change, typical discussion understandably surrounds renewable and clean power sources. Finding ways to meet our growing energy needs through carbon-free generation is the single most important undertaking if we're going to meet these climate goals. 

A strategy that too often goes overlooked, however, is mitigating how drastically those energy needs must grow. An increasingly digital and industrialized world that's home to a rapidly growing population will inevitably see an increase in energy demand in the coming decades, and there's no specter that we'll be able to (or even should) prevent that. However, ensuring that the energy we do use is done as efficiently as possible can be a key brick to the wall of fighting climate change.

That's the point that's highlighted by this opinion piece discussing a state Senate Bill in New Hampshire that would require for funds raised from citizens' power bills to be go towards energy efficiency programs. Energy efficiency, the author argues, could be a great first step towards a clean energy future:

First, energy efficiency doesn’t sound cool – but when compared to investments in solar panels or traditional fossil fuels like coal or oil, investment dollars going toward energy efficiency give you about double the return. Yup, you can get the same return from a $4 investment in energy efficiency, as you’d get from a $10 investment in solar, coal or oil. Even natural gas would require $6 for the same return. So, investing is energy efficiency is a great way to clean up our energy usage – by simply reducing use and therefore not having to invest in energy sources!  

Image result for energy efficiency new hampshire

What do you think of the points made by this author and how they apply to the general effort to increase energy efficiency? Should efficiency be prioritized as much as clean energy? If so, what are the best ways to move forward with such initiatives?


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