Reading between the lines of this piece about the recent EIA Report, the stark raving fact is that industrial energy efficiency has been responsible for over 50% of all emission reductions in the US in the last 23 years, with energy efficiency strategies in the last decade or so in the industrial sector reducing more carbon emissions than the burgeoning usage of natural gas and renewables.
This comports with my expanded definition of Clean Energy:
First, with so many different phrases being bandied about by the energy and environmental communities like “sustainable energy,” “clean energy,” and “environmentally friendly energy,” I want to provide a broader meaning to clean energy: “Clean Energy” is all forms of energy efficiency, new or replacement natural gas pipelines, new transmission lines, geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, cleaner coal power plants using scrubbers, new or updated nuclear power plants, and new natural gas power plants.
The one inviolable rule must be that all “clean energy” should share the ability to be measured and verified energy or emission reductions in real time, which would correct many of imperfections of the cap/trade or carbon tax platforms.
This notion reflects my sense that a 100 % renewables world isn’t a Sacret Goal nor is it even desirable.
Plunging Emissions Mostly Not Spurred By Natural Gas Nor Renewables, U.S. Government Finds
By Jeff McMahon
Carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity generation fell last year to their lowest level since 1987, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported today, and the strongest driver is neither the shift from coal to natural gas nor the growth of renewables.
More than half of the decline in emissions has occurred because of a single factor: a decline in industrial demand for electricity, the EIA reported.
“U.S. electricity demand has decreased in 6 of the past 10 years, as industrial demand has declined and residential and commercial demand has remained relatively flat,” writes Perry Lindstrom, a senior energy and environmental analyst.
Demand for electricity grew by 1.9 percent per year from 1996 to 2005, but has declined since 2005 by -0.1 percent per year, spurred by rapidly decreasing demand in the industrial sector. If that shift had not taken place, Lindstrom concludes, U.S. power sector emissions would have been 654 million metric tons higher last year.
That’s slightly larger than the decline in emissions from the power sector’s shift to using cleaner fuels—natural gas and renewables. Cleaner fuels are responsible for saving 645 MMmt of emissions.