May 11, 2010

If a Watered Down Energy Bill Cannot Pass Then Civil Society Proposes a Tougher Forty Year National Energy Efficiency Program

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Civil Society Institute has a 91 page plan for eliminating coal power in the USA and reducing nuclear energy. I support getting rid of coal power as it has costly air pollution which costs many lives and damages health. I scanned their plan. Technically I have seen many that are far worse. They are attacking coal first and basically just not investing in nuclear. They generally make the claim of nuclear accidents but do not provide support for this claim.

They are looking at paying for grid expansion and general efficiency improvements. They do not consider uprating existing nuclear reactors and the purpose is to get to "better energy generation mix" for 2030 and 2050.

Politically they talk about the climate and energy bill foundering and then they propose an energy efficiency national plan that would require draconian participation by citizens and industry and for the course to be held for 40 years. If people will not take one teaspoon of medicine then why would they drink a cup a day for forty years ?

They assume that energy efficiency will be the big cost savings engine of their plan. The problem is that the costs are going out of different pockets and the savings are going to different pockets. Plus they do not consider any Jevons paradox situation.

If I get a subsidy for energy efficient windows, insulation and better light bulbs then where do the energy savings go ? They go to me while I live in that house. A new buyer may or may not pay for it, but would enjoy the benefit. It could also go to the renter of the house. Who pays for the subsidies ? All tax payers.

If the energy bill is low, there is also the possibility that the occupants could be more willing to use more lighting, heating or air conditioning and they could also use more electrical devices. A $300/month bill goes down to $100/month and then back up to $150/month and then $200/month and maybe back to $300/month.

They talk about the risk of loan guarantees for nuclear power plant construction but do not quantify that risk. They assume improvements in wind and solar and biomass and electrical grid technology and projects but do not assign any financial or technical risk to those projects or technologies.

Why favor biomass and natural gas over nuclear energy ? Not for CO2 reasons. or air pollution reasons. They also do not consider cost improvements to nuclear power. They assume the worst of the cost quotes $8000/KW are true and stick. They do increase the cost estimates of other power sources. But they assume steady improvement in renewable costs. The starting point is almost fair but then they do not permit the consideration of improvement to any but their favored tech.

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