jueves, octubre 09, 2008

The issues of renewable energy and energy independence have taken center stage in both media and political conversations lately, but the means of achieving various energy goals have proven to be rather controversial. Proposed options dominating news headlines include clean coal, nuclear energy, and offshore drilling. Is there an energy path that we can all agree upon?

The answer is yes, and this morning Rocky Mountain Institute and Chief Scientist Amory Lovins were featured in a New York Times blog in response to last night's Presidential Debate. Energy efficiency, a solution at the core of RMI's work, was discussed as a viable and economically profitable resolution to both energy and economy issues. New York Times writer Kate Galbraith points out that RMI and Amory Lovins have consistently advocated the benefits of a soft-path approach to energy, with efficiency at it's core. You can read the article here.

When it comes to nuclear power specifically, every dollar invested in new US nuclear electricity will save approximately 2-11 times less carbon, and will do so roughly 20-40 times slower, than investing in the same dollar in energy efficiency and "micropower" (cogeneration plus renewables minus big hydro dams). Buying new nuclear capacity instead of efficiency causes more carbon to be released than spending the same money on new coal plants!

These conclusions and the empirical evidence supporting them are summarized in "Forget Nuclear," and fully documented in "The Nuclear Illusion," available for download here, which is to be published in early 2009 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' journal Ambio.

Hopefully our vision will help put these widely publicized issues into perspective and move us all toward a better understanding that takes us beyond politically divisive issues to collective and viable solutions.


Rocky Mountain Institute

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