Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Energy Efficiency

When most people think of energy efficiency, they think of turning off the lights when they leave a room or only running the washing machine when it's full. However, as my Environmental Science teacher (Professor Alain Plante) pointed out today, energy efficiency is really referring to the efficiency in creating energy at the source. The process used to generate electricity from fossil fuels, for example, is only 30-40% efficient, nuclear 30-35%, solar 5-30%.  

That's not to say that every drop in the bucket doesn't count, but it follows along with the same principle that countries need to develop sustainable policy and companies need to use sustainable practices. Energy producers, countries, and companies really need to get on board in order for us to get going on the climate change issue. 

1 comment:

  1. Here is an example of an unsustainable practice by oil companies: burning off natural gas in order to speed up extraction of oil from the Bakken shale field in North Dakota. This practice is being used in order to take advantage of the high price of crude and save the expense of building pipelines to bring the gas to market. Each day enough natural gas is burned off - wasted - which could heat half a million homes for a day. The gas emits about 2 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually. With the increase in this practice, there could be air pollution problems. There is as yet no national regulation concerning flaring at oil and gas wells.

    So, here we have an energy production technique that is actually wasting energy and possibly causing environmental pollution.