Published on October 19th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan3
Change Energy Use Forever — “Reinvent Fire” (VIDEO)
And from Climate Progress, where I ran across is today, here are some of the facts from the Rocky Mountain Institute’s plan:
Much as cold warriors cast about for a new enemy after the Soviet Union collapsed, many feel that coal is now the irreplaceable fossil fuel. Electricity is essential to modern life, they say, too expensive to store, and far too asset-intensive to change even over a generation. We suspect they suffer from a dearth of practical imagination, as illustrated by this list of what approximate equivalent percentage of U.S. coal-fired electricity could be saved by:
- Using electricity only as efficiently (per GDP) as the top ten states averaged four years ago: ~60 percent (ert.rmi.org/cgu/index.htm);
- Systematically using electricity with cost-effective efficiency: 100–150 percent, at a lower cost than just buying the coal;
We mean to speed the transformation from pervasive waste to elegant frugality, from causing scarcity by inattention to creating abundance by design, from liquidating energy capital to living better on energy income.
- Adding windpower in available windy sites: over 400 percent, at or below wholesale power prices;
- Building just the windpower now stuck in the interconnection queue: 50 percent;
- Properly exploiting profitable industrial cogeneration: 40 percent (plus more in buildings); and
- Running coal plants less and existing but partly idle combined-cycle gas plants more: 35 percent immediately, at an extra cost much less than displacing coal with new nuclear plants. In practice, a combination from this far from exhaustive menu can create a practical transition beyond coal, with cleaner air, right-side-up landscapes, more jobs, greater energy security, and lower electric bills.