Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Good News (Sorta Kinda)

Americans used less energy last year, according to this Washington Post article. A report from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which can be found here, provided some relatively good news, all things considered.

A bright spot in the nation's flickering economy is that Americans used less energy last year than in 2008, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which recently published its findings online.

"Part of the reason is [that] the whole economy shrank," said A.J. Simon, an energy analyst at Livermore who calculated that overall energy use in the country dropped from 99.2 quadrillion BTUs in 2008 to 94.6 quadrillion in 2009. "People are doing less stuff overall, using less oil, saving money."

Another reason, Simon added, is that the residential, industrial, commercial and transportation sectors of the economy are using more products that are energy-efficient. ...

The data also revealed that people are increasingly relying on hydropower, geothermal and wind energy, thereby cutting their use of coal, natural gas and petroleum. For the past seven or eight years, Simon added, the amount of wind energy used to generate electricity has steadily grown, with a 37 percent increase this past year from 0.51 quadrillion BTUs in 2008 to 0.7 quadrillion in 2009.
[Emphasis added]

The bad news, of course, is that the economy imploded in 2009, which meant that manufacturers and shippers geared down, using a lot less energy. The good news is that consumers cut back on energy use by installing swirlies, new windows, and better insulation in order to save a little money. Contrary to Dick Cheney's theory, conservation can have an impact on energy use.

The best news, however, is that new, greener forms of energy are beginning to replace carbon-based forms, which is a plus for all sorts of reasons.

The trick is going to be to continue these savings once (if) the economy picks up. While I am generally opposed to all of these fake "Wars On ...", a national drive to conserve energy and to develop more green energy would be a welcome initiative on a federal level. Maybe that fellow in the White House could help out here.

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