Energy News: New Ethanol, Electric Power Reports
One warns of unintended consequences of rapidly rolling out domestic biofuels; other focuses on energy efficiency, renewables
In other energy-research news, over the next 15 years, Texas could meet its growing electric-power needs – without new power plants – and create an estimated 38,300 new jobs by using energy efficiency and on-site renewable-energy measures, according to a report co-released recently by ED and the Washington-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The report, which focuses on the sprawling, insatiably energy-hungry Houston and Dallas metro areas, calls for local leadership on new building standards for homes and commercial buildings, upgrades of existing government buildings, and ultra-efficient combined heat and power plants – like the small natural-gas plant that powers the new, nearly 500,000-square-foot Dell Children's Medical Center, which recycles its exhaust to provide all the building's heating and cooling needs. The report recommends things like simple residential solar water heating on sunny rooftops to offset related energy use. The real challenge in meeting energy demands with efficiency seems to be locating leaders with the brains and balls to work with Texas' powerful investor-owned utilities – whose fundamental business model is to sell more energy – and to devise ways of making energy conservation an attractive option for meeting customers' needs. See the report at www.aceee.org/pubs/e078.htm.