Skip to main content

energy costs

Residential Efficiency, Operations, and Maintenance

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week, I received an email from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy with the headline, Housing, Energy, and Consumer Groups Applaud Senate Opposition to Raising Energy Prices for Americans. “In a bipartisan vote today, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment to block a federal proposal that will lower household costs by ensuring more new homes are built to up-to-date energy codes.” In other words, the Senate supports a federal proposal to lower household energy costs. This additional quote hooked me, “Brand-new homes that waste energy saddle their residents with high bills for decades, so up-to-date codes are critical.”…
Read More

1,500 Pages of Deregulation

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I mentioned genuine intelligence over artificial happy-talk intelligence. Want to know what the latter looks like? See this Forbes article in which data solves all problems, including heating and cooling buildings. “There is an opportunity to build the foundations of a long-term digital strategy for buildings in all industries, to achieve decarbonization goals, reduce energy use and running costs, and boost resiliency and competitiveness.” How many Btus of energy are in a terabyte anyway? Harnessing data, plus actionable analytics, which is rare, can help shave 10% or even 20% off energy costs. Still, it must be integrated with…
Read More
Map of Ukraine

100 Years and 50,000 Feet Over Ukraine

By Energy Rant No Comments
I’m breaking my word from last week’s natural gas shakedown in which I noted I would write about customer intolerance for high energy prices this week. Since then, a kerfuffle has broken out in the Eurasian landmass. I was asked if I might be interested in writing about that, especially regarding energy. No! I don’t know much about it; it won’t impact our energy supply, and we should not get involved. After listening to some podcasts and news clips, my Gallup “strengths” got the best of me. My top four strengths are posted on the left, with a layperson’s definition…
Read More

Energy Resources from an Outside the Boxer

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Since you are reading this, you are probably on board with the theory that ratepayer funded efficiency programs help keep energy costs lower than with the status quo: building generation transmission, and distribution for whatever quantity and whenever millions of customers in aggregate want to use the resource. The “what and when” generates a load curve. We will discuss load shape management in future posts. For now, I will share some insights from a true thought leader in the industry. Costs and Benefits of Efficiency Tom Eckman worked for years with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council as a resource…
Read More

DoGooder Equity

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 2 Comments
Upon reading some manager/principal/owner interviews in business publications, the publisher asks, “What keeps you awake at night?”  My answer to that would be: Nothing.  The reason for this is utilities are regulated monopolies and the energy efficiency program portfolios they run are cost effective.  I.e., we, as an industry, are contributing to net wealth generation for consumers and not just redistributing it – it’s EE or power plants, poles and wires and either way, the consumer pays, and we are helping them pay less. A major reason I am a huge advocate of EE programs is that they are cost…
Read More

Mad States of Saudi America

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Remember peak oil?  That was the glorious theory, which at some point will occur and no one will know, or maybe it won’t matter, that the stewards of the planet have maxed out oil production, and we would be headed for terminal depletion – and we adopt Mad Max-like diplomacy to survive.  By the way, the Mad Max dog is an Australian Cattle Dog, or Blue Heeler, and his name is Dogmeat and he has his own Facebook page.  We had a Red Heeler when I was a kid, and her nickname was Tough Dog for a reason.  Not mean. …
Read More

Opting to Make Money

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Utility Stuff No Comments
In many states that are relatively new to energy efficiency, legislators often cave to large energy users and allow them to opt out of programs because hey, they use a ton of energy and therefore, OBVIOUSLY to any moron, they control and manage these costs as well as any dunce could.  Why should they throw money at a program that won’t help them? Come to think of it, programs available to these large users in many places are dysfunctional, poorly conceived, and not thought through from the perspective of the customer, so I can see their point to some extent. …
Read More

3 and Out

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Tax Stuff, Utility Stuff No Comments
The New Scientist published an article by an economist saying that now is the perfect time to implement “long-overdue environmental regulations requiring US power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic metals”.  And the added cost will be a boon to the economy.  That’s what the textbooks say, so it must be right! As the article states in one place, yes, retrofitting power plants will create jobs somewhere, and the higher cost will be passed on to consumers.  Do they equally offset on a macroeconomic level?  I severely doubt it but no one can prove that. In…
Read More

A Radical Idea

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Tax Stuff, Utility Stuff One Comment
This week I was gleeful to find American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy released a study on my two favorite subjects on which to rant: taxes and energy efficiency!  Yeah! I blogged about tax-distorting effects of EE about a year ago in EE V IRS,with many of the same arguments noted in the recent ACEEE paper.  The ACEEE paper points out that: Since the cost of energy is a business expense, it is tax deductible and therefore, the tax code penalizes to the tune of 35% the bottom line improvement from saving energy.  As I mentioned in EE V…
Read More

Monty and Me

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability One Comment
Back in August I wrote about our “non-energy policy” and that our federal administrations since Nixon have vowed to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, especially from hostile regions - and exactly the opposite has occurred.  We are better positioned to control our energy destiny right now, for decades, more so than any time in my life. Technology for tapping conventional fossil fuels has vastly outstripped and expanded the gap between inexpensive fossil fuel supply and alternative energy sources.  Unfortunately or fortunately, this is reality.  Two major energy sources being tapped of course include natural gas from shale…
Read More