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Taking A Step Back
 Brings Energy Revolution
 Clearly Into Focus

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day minutia of the revolution under way in the energy industry—announcements of technology improvements, installation milestones and price reductions of all kinds hit my inbox almost daily. But two recent reports, one highlighting where we’ve been and the second pointing to where we are going, are a useful grounding tool, pointing out that while I (and probably many others) often get lost looking at individual trees there is a whole forest out there.

The first report, an Energy Department publication dubbed Revolution…Now (which can be found here), walks through the startling changes in five clean energy technologies during the past five-plus years. While much of this information may be familiar, it is worth a quick review.

Continue reading Taking A Step Back
 Brings Energy Revolution
 Clearly Into Focus

The Energy Implications Of Our Connected Lifestyle

The first U.S. energy efficiency standards were adopted by the Energy Department in the 1980s and they have proven exceptionally effective in cutting consumption in the targeted appliances. For example, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported last year that the average new refrigerator in 2010 used only 44 percent of the energy consumed by a comparable new unit in 1985. As a result, LBNL said: “Nationally, in 2010 refrigerator-freezers used one-third less total energy than in 1985 even though there were 70 million more units in use.” (“Energy and Economic Impacts of U.S. Federal Energy and Water Conservation Standards Adopted From 1987 Through 2012.” LBNL, April 2013)

That’s an impressive result, but despite these efficiency-related savings, electricity consumption in the United States has gone up over the past decade. DOE statistics indicate that average monthly electricity consumption nationwide in 2012 was 903 kilowatt-hours, up from 889 kwh in 2000. So what gives?
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