The Cost of Negawatts v Megawatts

Note the cost of Negawatts v Megawatts!

……………………The concepts of demand-side management, such as utility-sponsored energy efficiency and load reduction programs, and integrated resource planning, which treats supply- and demand-side options side by side when determining the most cost-effective way to meet energy needs, have been rediscovered and promoted nationwide, most famously by Duke Power’s Jim Rogers. Xcel Energy’s programs that expect to “generate” 694 Megawatts of savings, principally in residential and commercial buildings (or “Negawatts” as Amory Lovins would call them) are a perfect example of this approach. Xcel also is investing in “fuels from heaven,” as coined by Rochelle Lefkowitz, to the tune of 1,000 MW of renewable energy. Clearly, they strive to “xcel” in a 21st century energy system. Way to go!

Xcel’s energy efficiency programs come in at an astonishing $100 per kilowatt. Compare this with $4,000/KW for nuclear, $1,500-$4,000 (conventional to IGCC with CCS-carbon capture and storage) for coal, $800-$1,600 for gas and $1,200 to $1,600 for wind. In addition, every dollar invested in energy efficiency provides significantly more employment than a dollar invested in generation capacity as evidenced by the 1.5 million jobs created by energy efficiency in California.

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