Dave Bruderly posted this piece in response to a piece on an energy
discussion group that advocated an efficiency portfolio standard for the
manufacture of electricity.
Slow down; what public policy purpose is served by a stand-alone efficiency
Is the objective to force the use of the most efficient photovoltaic panels,
wind turbines or biomass gasifier systems? To limit carbon emissions per
unit of useful work? To force the most efficient use of scarce coal, oil or
natural gas fuels? Or to force the most efficient system for converting
fossil or renewable energy sources (biomass or photons or ocean currents or
wind) into electricity and delivering it to end users regardless of the
cost, site specific circumstances or owner preferences?
As currently implemented renewable portfolio standards or efficiency
standards apply only to the manufacture of electricity. And on the vehicle
side the renewable fuel standards apply only to liquid biofuels. But what
about renewable electricity used to charge plug-in hybrids?
Apples to oranges!
Why should we continue to invest so much time and energy and money to lobby
partial solutions; why continue to fight for standards that dictate winners
and losers in one sector while ignoring another?
The pressing environmental goal is to decarbonize our energy systems and
actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not promote one technology or
energy source over another.
Why not start pushing for one simple standard that addresses this pressing
public policy issue directly?
Why not lobby to create one simple carbon standard that creates market pull
across the entire energy economy?
Why not create one simple carbon standard that empowers energy producers to
respond to consumers and end users, aka consumers. And why not create one
simple standard that requires energy producers to give consumers the
information they actually need to make more informed purchasing decisions?
We already use one such metric every day: the dollar!
Everybody knows how much they pay for a gallon of gasoline. Many also know
the price they pay for electricity. But how many people know how many grams
of carbon their car emits per gallon of fuel or per kilometer? Or grams of
carbon their house emits per kWh?
True, our use of money to purchase energy services is often expressed in
confusing ways; a $/gallon for gasoline does not deliver the same energy as
a $/gallon of diesel fuel or $/gallon of E85. But the natural gas vehicle
industry figured out how to solve this little problem by creating the
gasoline gallon equivalent (gge). And for electricity everybody uses the
same metric units: $/MWh or cents/kWh.
So why not take advantage of the chaos and fight for a universal
environmental / energy performance standard for the production, distribution
and end use of all forms of energy?
This standard should be:
ta da ....
Life-cycle carbon (aka greenhouse gas) emissions per unit of useful work,
unit of mass/unit of energy; i.e. g/MJ or such; let's start debating which
units to use.
Once developed, this performance standard should be applied across the
board; to consumer purchases of all forms of energy; from electricity made
from all fossil or renewable energy sources to direct use of heating oil,
natural gas, coal for heat or industrial processes to the use of diesel
fuel, ethanol, gasoline, compressed natural gas or hydrogen motor fuels in
our highly efficient SUVs.
Why not make it easy for consumers to understand what is going on? Why not
empower people to make good decisions? Why not provide simple feedback to
consumers so they learn that each and every one of us can make a difference.
Why not level the playing field?
Quantifying actual emission performance with hard numbers also makes it easy
for motivated stakeholders to put a price on their carbon emissions.
$/unit of energy used / Mass carbon emission/unit of energy used = $/unit of
mass carbon emission
Imagine the cocktail party conversions:
"I'm only paying $20 to create my weekly load of carbon pollution; about $10
from my SUV and $5 from the house. And my wife adds about $5 for her
subcompact. How about you?"
You want change? You want to make a difference?
Harness the power of consumers; put it out there in dollars and cents. Take
emissions reductions out of the hands of the securitizers, middle men and
brokers. Make it easy to understand and easy to manage. KISS. Keep it simple
Send this e-mail to Obama's Energy and Environmental Czaress, UF Law
graduate Carol Browner, and ask her to give this matter serious
Happy New Year
David E. Bruderly PE
Clean Power Engineering
Wise Gas Inc.
920 SW 57th Drive
Gainesville FL 32607-3838