This chapter is about energy success stories and potential success stories. Since the oil embargo, the United States has reduced its energy-use growth rate from 4.4% per year (1960–70) to about 1% per year. The nation’s appetite for energy rose from 74 quads in 1973 to 100 quads in 2004, a much smaller rise than the 1972 Atomic Energy Commission projection of 160 quads for 2000. Electric power consumption actually grew by 2% per year in the 1990s, reaching an average power of 450GWe in 2004. This growth was also well below the 1972 Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) projection of 2000 GWe for the year 2000. The reason energy use by 2000 had not matched expectations is found in enhanced end-use efficiency. The United States has saved 50% of energy use on new autos (other than SUVs), houses and refrigerators since the oil embargo of 1973–74. Appliance standards saved the building of 50 large power plants, which would have consumed 3 quads/year. Energy demand could be cut by another 50% on new cars and houses, but it must be shown that these yeoman technologies are cost effective. Over a 10–20 year period, thicker insulation is cost effective, but it is far cheaper as installed on new construction, compared to when it is retrofitted to existing houses.
KeywordsHeat Pump Spot Price District Heating System Incandescent Bulb Carnot Cycle
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