New England, Europe, and Energy Conservation
- Jan 10, 2023 5:51 am GMT
This past year, Europe has provided the rest of the world with a comprehensive efficiency blueprint and shown just how powerful a tool energy conservation is. The continent, facing historically high energy prices in the summer due to the war in Ukraine and other factors, burst into action. Heat pump installations, for example, have skyrocketed around the region, and countries like France, with no previous energy efficiency to speak of, have developed robust conservation effective mechanisms seemingly overnight.
The continent's heroic efforts have not been in vain. In many parts of the region, energy usage is down 40% compared to the previous year. A mild winter has helped, but this is still impressive. Energy conservation combined with new renewables, nuclear, and gas sources have controlled energy prices, bringing them down to pre-war levels.
Governments in the region are not resting on their laurels. The UK, for example, has already unveiled a £6bn energy efficiency plan, but the MP's say it needs to be rolled out faster: “Those in fuel poverty cannot afford three winters of delay. It is a false economy to hold this money back at a time when households are struggling and the taxpayer is having to spend billions to subsidize energy bills.”
While Europe has been a pleasant surprise, parts of the US have fared worse than expected. New England residents, for example, have seen their electricity bills increase substantially over the previous year despite a mild winter. Tanya Bodell, a partner at the consulting firm StoneTurn, put the region’s energy crisis in perspective during an interview with The Hill:
“Natural gas prices have not been this high in New England since 2008 — before the fracking revolution, mortgage crisis and Great Recession caused energy prices to crash.”
Will historically high energy prices in places like New England inspire a European-style energy conservation revolution? I sure hope so, but only time will tell.
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