Saving Energy is Easy
Turning your thermostat up in summer and down in winter is one often overlooked way to reduce usage and cost. For each degree you raise or lower your thermostat, you can save anywhere from 1 to 5 percent on your cooling or heating. While you can do this manually, a programmable thermostat can help do it automatically. Other easy ways to save energy include: lowering the hot water heater’s thermostat; getting heating and cooling equipment tuned once a year; insulating hot water pipes and hot water storage tanks; caulking cracks and gaps on walls, including those around door and window frames; weather-stripping air leaks around windows and doors; and replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.
Economist Skeptical of Cap-and-Trade Solution
As a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, Thomas Crocker first sketched out a cap-and-trade idea for lowering air pollution produced by fertilizer plants in Florida. Now a retired economist, Crocker says it won’t work for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
In a Wall Street Journal article published in August, Crocker says, “I’m skeptical that cap-and-trade is the most effective way to go about regulating carbon.” He says a tax on emissions would be preferable, easier to enforce and provide more flexibility.
Crocker says there are two problems with addressing greenhouse gases with cap-and-trade. First is it is a global issue which makes it difficult to enforce. And he adds it is difficult to estimate the damage from climate change with any certainty. Without knowing the cost, no one knows how much to clamp down on emissions.
Economist David Montgomery converted the cap-and-trade theory into mathematical formulas in the 1970s to demonstrate the economic feasibility. He also prefers a tax. In the article he says, “You get huge swings in carbon prices with a cap, which creates more volatility and uncertainty for business.”
Fight for Fair, Affordable Climate Change Policy
Climate change legislation is moving forward in Congress, and Illinois electric cooperatives, along with all other electric cooperatives across the nation, are urging co-op members to join the political discussion.
During the spring and early summer, congressional energy policy debate focused on a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants — a system that could impact all levels of the economy.
Electric co-ops stepped up early in the debate to fight for fairness and affordability as this legislation was considered in the U.S. House of Representatives. Backed by more than 375,000 co-op members taking part in the Our Energy, Our Future campaign, electric co-ops had a major impact, securing more than $3 billion in rate relief from initial U.S. House proposals.
But that victory marks just the first inning in a long ballgame. The debate has now moved to the U.S. Senate, where another version of the bill is being drafted. Here we have another opportunity to make even more improvements. You should have already received a letter from your local electric cooperative with two prepaid postcards urging Senator Burris and Durbin to keep climate change legislation:
• Fair: Climate change legislation needs to recognize regional differences in how electricity is produced.
• Affordable: Any climate change plan must keep electricity affordable for all Americans.
• Achievable: Climate change legislation must be realistic to ensure long-term success.
You can still help. Getting your voice heard in Washington is easy through the Our Energy, Our Future campaign. Visit www.ourenergy.coop to send a message to your elected officials about the need for fair, affordable, and achievable climate change legislation.
Technologies Key to Curbing CO2, Meeting Demand Growth
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has released updated “Prism and Merge” analyses that show a full portfolio of electricity sector technologies could simultaneously address the challenge of growing load demand while meeting carbon constraints and limiting increases in the cost of electricity.
The research shows that the sector could potentially reduce annual CO2 emissions in 2030 by 41 percent relative to 2005 emissions levels, but that it will require sustained research, development and demonstration and aggressive deployment of the full technology portfolio.
The full portfolio includes coal-fired generation with carbon capture and storage, renewable resources, and nuclear generation, as well as significant efficiency improvements throughout the electricity production and delivery system and reduced consumption through end-use efficiency.
SIUC Expo Open to Entrepreneurs
Southern Illinois University Carbondale researchers are set to work with entrepreneurs and business owners on various technologies and inventions. SIUC is playing matchmaker for business and academia, setting the table for economic growth in the area and beyond at the Technology and Innovation Expo at SIUC from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 9 at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, in Carbondale. Researchers, business people, entrepreneurs and others will be on hand, taking advantage of the networking and educational environment aimed at sparking economic development.
To attend the event, you must pre-register. Attendance is limited to 150 people. Tickets are $15. Go to http://techtransfer.siuc.edu/tie/ or call 618-453-4556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register and learn about sponsorship opportunities.
New Law Bans Texting While Driving
Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill in August that bans motorists from sending text messages while driving in Illinois. Additionally, the governor signed legislation that makes it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving through a highway construction zone or school speed zone. The new laws go into effect on January 1, 2010.
“This legislation will save lives and make the roads safer for our loved ones,” said Governor Quinn. “We want everyone to know that distracted driving will not be tolerated in Illinois.”