Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« eSolar Receives Funding for 33MW Modular Solar Power Plants | Main | Optisolar to Build Largest Solar Farm in North America »

April 26, 2008


Gary Reysa

It is falling off a log easy for most people to cut electricity use in half -- I don't understand why a lot more than 11% isn't feasible?

Kit P

“I don't understand why a lot more than 11% isn't feasible?”

Maybe because you have not given it much thought.

It is feasible to reduce Gary's electricity use by 100%. Gary go open the main disconnect to you house. With that solution will ensure no more stupid comments from Gary. If is hard to use the Internet without electricity.

There are two basic problems with efficiency that are caused by human nature. First, saving energy through efficiency is a case of diminishing returns. A tube of caulk or insulating foam cost a few dollars. Huge ROI if you are a do it yourselfer. A nice low flow shower nozzle, $10 . On/off switch, two bucks. Radiant barriers cost about a $100 and provides a 10% improvement. However, when you replace a modern refrigerator with a modern refrigerator that is slightly more efficient, you may only get a 5% improvement for two hundred dollars and efficiency may come at the expense of reliability or using more material with higher environmental impact.

The second problem is efficiency and productivity makes us richer so we can afford more consumer goods. American can afford to drive SUV because we are so efficient at making steel and electricity, and growing food.

Bob Wallace

Electricity prices have soared recently in Juneau Alaska - they produce their electricity by burning diesel.

Electricity consumption is down 20%.


Juneau may be an interesting case study. They have been cut off from their normal cheap hydropower, because an avalanche knocked out the transmission lines. The backup generators are several times more expensive. They are reportedly burning 100,000 gallons of diesel/day to keep the lights on. The expensive power period short be temporary.

Kit P

Juneau Alaska depends on hydo for electricity with diesel as a backup. The power lines are down because of avalanches.

A few years back it looked like the stupid California would have to declare rolling blackouts the next day. The was a huge drop in demand and AS thanked the citizens of California for conserving. There was also a huge number (a million or so) without power because of localized grid failure due to the crumbling infrastructure. Cause and effect.

There is a reason I think Bob Wallace is dishonest. He may only be as dishonest as his governor. Honest people look for cause and affect. Dishonest folk look for nebulous links and use innuendo to make a point.

There are some rich people like Bob Wallace who want to make energy expensive so poor people will use less. They will talk about the $100k Tesla EV and $40K solar systems. They live a life of greed while condemning corporate greed.

Kit P

Did not plan to repeat your facts bigTom. In the middle of typing, we has a flooding amidships emergency. Maybe someone can explain why putting down laminate flooring would induce 4 random stealth flooding events in 2 years. The first floor was installed by a contractor in a house I was selling. The floor was ruined. In my new house, I have installed three floors. I bought a sample and let if sit in the rain for a few weeks.

Energy prices this year may make an interesting case study too, bigTom. The major even was the earth quake in Japan that required a review of the seismic calculations. This illustrates a conflict in the precautionary principle. While there was no damage to safety equipment designed to nuke seismic standards, lot of ghg is being emitted by the fossil plants replacing the nukes.

The price of oil has never stopped it from being used to make electricity when that was the only choice.


KitP: I have noticed that during a blackout, I would be happy to be able to consume 1/10th of my normal amount. When I couldn't get power two years back during 115degrees (PG&E distribution transformer) I woulda been happy with enough power to run a fan & one light. I hope you have better luck with your contractors. Seems these ones seem to have a connection with Murphy (of Murphys Law fame). I don't mind the repeat of the Juneau story, I only know a little bit about it, you probably know more details.

Kit P

Conservation and reliable service are two different things. PG&E is the least reliable electric provider that I every had in the US. How bad was it? I used to call my answering machine to see if I has power was on.

I lived Michigan before moving back to California. We last power once for a few hours during an ice storm. Two of the guys at work were complaining not having power back after several days. A whole subdivision without power and no one called it in.

I think that any state governor, PUC commissioners, and utility CEO should be sitting in the dark as long as one customer is sitting in the dark because ineptitude. Conservation is a good concept but no substitute for an adequate reserve margin.

Bob Wallace

Tom -

The article that I read said nothing about residents not having power due to long blackouts. It said that due to significant increases in power costs that residents had trimmed their usage by 20%.

I did a further search for 'Juneau Alaska blackouts' and did find that they suffered a brief blackout on January 29 when.

"About 10,000 Juneau residents briefly lost power after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines."


The point of my original post was that people can cut their consumption way back if sufficiently motivated. Eleven percent seems modest.


no more italics

The 11% is for efficiency savings, which takes time and installation of new equipment, and is supposed to maintain the same comfort level.

The 20% reduction in electricity use in Juneau is not from efficiency, it's from conservation, making do with less... colder rooms, fewer business hours, etc.

To me, that's apples and oranges.

Gary Reysa

Kit P.
Most people can identify projects that cut electricity use in half and still have a very good return -- most people will not by any means reach the point of diminishing returns or a low ROI.
The projects we used to cut our electricity (and other energy use) in half are here:
I think you would have to agree that they have an excellent return, and in no way impact our life.
I don't think that we are untypical.
Most people can cut their energy use in half with a few hundred dollars and a few hours work -- its just a matter of taking a little time and effort to get it done, rather than talking about why it won't work.


Bob, consumption cut due to price (economists would call it short term elasticity) is what I was getting at. Although it is also possible that Juneau might be close to current (emergency) capacity, in which case some of the conservation may not be simply a price response, but people doing the right thing for their community as well. Kitp: I've only been in the PG&E zone since late 2001. There haven't been any large scale blackouts in that time, although we have had a lot of local ones. I live in one of those communities which was rapidly growing -until the housing bubble burst -so most of our power breaks are likely due to difficulties with rapidly rising local demand. I had it worse in the outlying part of Bernalilo county New Mexico, where I lived before, -although reliability was improving their. But that was likely mainly a matter of semi rural areas versus urban/subburban. The more recent problems with PG&E reliability are usually end node distribution transformers. They really blew the climate analysis for my neighborhood, and used transformers that wouldn't take the heat. They probably used historical climate data on the former agricultural (and dead grass) that was then converted to suburban housing, complete with black top. And I doubt they realized that in the hills, the nightly lows will be much higher than in the valleys -so they basically used improper specs for the distribution transformers. At least ours has been replaced, and I think our local problem is now solved.


"its just a matter of taking a little time and effort to get it done, rather than talking about why it won't work."

But if KitP did that, he wouldn't have anything to post anymore....


Actually KitP, it would seem that Gary's house, as detailed at his website should provide you with a golden opportunity to demonstrate exactly why such conservation efforts are not worth pushing for in the general public, perhaps through the use of higher prices, incentives, education and regulation. Apparently, in stark contradiction to your typically derogatory judgement, Gary has not only given this a lot of thought but made it a reality. By much better than 11%.

Bob Wallace

Marcus - I hadn't looked at that site before. Thanks for highlighting it.

People should take a look at the "First Year Rate of Return" graph on this page.


It offers a very good visual as to how conservation can be cheaper than generation.

(Yes, I do realize that the original article was about efficiency in the utility sector, not at the consumer level. But discussions do drift - without a steady hand on the tiller, which this site does not have.)

Kit P

BigTom, my experience with PG&E are before 1990. None were caused weather. All were a result poor maintenance practices. One outage involved more than a million people and extended into the service area of the utility I worked for.

Gary before I started explaining why you are an idiot you should add radiant barriers and LED path light to your list of useful tips for energy pigs.

Unless Gary is under 25 and just started paying his own electric bills, Gary is an idiot. The reason Gary is an idiot is he is an energy pig bragging about saving energy. Like Al gore he lives in huge house and uses a huge amount energy. Most the things Gary listed on his web site are not new or represent new increased demand.

Turning off things, sealing leaks, closing doors, and putting up storm windows is an ethic that I learned in the 50s. After cutting his energy in half, Gary uses four times the energy that I do. If fact Gary uses more energy than the four families on my block of affluent but not ostentations people.

I will use smoking as an example. If you think you are special for giving up smoking, I will remind that you were stupid in the first place for starting. However, either you smoke or you do not. If you want to claim 50% credit improvement for quitting twice, I will explain you are twice as stupid.

Now there is a reason to explain why Gary is stupid. People like Marcus who believe him.

I am a great advocate of conservation but it generally a one time thing. Every house I have owned has had low energy bills. I have also had unpleasing experience of renting from owners who did not care about making even the cheapest of improvement to save energy.

I well now explain why conservation is a case of diminishing returns and why 7-11% cuts in energy use may be optimistic. When I moved to my present house, I made improvements that reduced my electricity use 33-50%. However, this was not a net improvement because it brought me back to my energy use at my previous house. The exception to this was putting a radiant barrier in the attic which I recommend for hot climates after doing research. So I have made a 7-11% cuts based on using materials that were not widely available 15 years ago.

There is also reason to explain why demand is increasing. The people who bought my house moved to a bigger house. When we moved our energy sue stayed the same but one of our sons moved out on his own.

So lets talk about my sons and the intern at work. They all have multiple computers with 3-d modeling graphics to die for. They play games. At work, I use the 3-d model to walk through a virtual model of a power plant 5 years before it is built. Everyone where I work has a computer. My son who has his own apartment supports was supporting himself at 20 using his computer skills and works full time at a TV station doing computer graphics and producing news video clips.

So Gary wants to brag about how much electricity he saves by turning off his computer when he is not using it while ignoring how much electricity he is using. Sorry, Gary that is just plain stupid.

Productivity is what is important. There is a discussion about 33MW Modular Solar Power Plants. CAD is what make this possible. Design Ugly Solar With a Huge Footprint #1 and then Ugly Solar With a Huge Footprint #2 can be created by imputing the variables that each location causes. The same for coal, nuke, and natural gas but on a much larger scale. With that productivity comes a lower energy intensity per unit of production.

With increased productivity comes higher paying jobs and really big flat panel TVs that resources planners at the utilities did not see coming. With economic opportunity comes immigration. Those crappy inefficient apartments with electricity are like heaven for a family that was cooking with water buffalo dung the year before. Then they figure out that a cheap used computer will give access to learning opportunities. Soon they have a child that is winning the chess tournaments and in the gifted program at school. Small amount of energy use a huge return in quality of life. Someday this child will buy a house and use just as much electricity any American family.

The utility resource managers take into account that the new houses build because of immigration are more efficient and over time CFL will replace light for the on/off switch challenged. If efficiency is greater than predicted then that 60 year old oil fire plant will go back into retirement sooner.

Carl Hage

With regard to growing demand, a major issue is that people have no idea of the cost or efficiency of electronics they buy. I measured my cordless phone-- the lifetime electric cost is $80 when not in use (for the tricle charger), but substituting a smart charger circuit (at most $2 retail extra) would bring the $80 down to <$1.

We know how much a refrigerator costs because of the yellow sticker, but who knew the cable boxes mentioned burn as much?

With no incentive to engineer more efficient designs, it's no wonder electronic appliances are grossly wasteful. Mandating an energy guide sticker on all electronic appliances is a simple solution. I think this is better than passing laws with some sort of legal limit, or an arbitrary limit as "energy-star". There is no incentive to improve past the legal limit, and no education for consumers on usage.

One issue governments or manufacturing associations could address, is to facilitate standards for communications between appliances to recognize standby mode. For example, if the TV and VCR are powered off, there is no reason to burn 30W in the cable box. Likewise, if a computer is powered off, the router and DSL modem can be in standby. People power off the computer, but not usually the networking appliances.

Since these appliances are manufactured by separate companies, a standardized protocol (not encumbered by patents) would allow appliances to recognize when it's possible to enter standy mode.

Bob Wallace

Energy Star is useful in that it provides a quick guide for the shopper who doesn't take the time to look at actual numbers.

As long as the requirements to receive an Energy Star label are adjusted to keep up with current efficiencies I can see that tag being very useful. If in order to achieve an ES rating the product had to be in the top 20% (just picking a number) of all similar products manufacturers would be finding themselves chasing technology to keep up with the competition.

Perhaps we need a 'top 10%', 'top 20%' rating system. Maybe even a "Genuine Stupid Product' label....

And, why not pass a law that one can't sell a trickle charger that isn't "smart", a cable box that doesn't have an automatic sleep function, ...? Make the laws time limited so that they have to be revisited and updated to match current reality.


KitP, again a completely misleading response that only helps to make the situation worse. You fail to recognize the central point - which is obviously that if everyone used the kind of energy saving measures Gary did we would be using a LOT less energy. Its pretty simple to grasp really.

There is nothing to be gained by insulting people such as Gary who demonstrate to others what can be achieved.

"The second problem is efficiency and productivity makes us richer so we can afford more consumer goods. American can afford to drive SUV because we are so efficient at making steel and electricity, and growing food. "

This is exactly why CO2 generating energy has to cost more. Again, elementary but something you oppose.


"The second problem is efficiency and productivity makes us richer so we can afford more consumer goods. American can afford to drive SUV because we are so efficient at making steel and electricity, and growing food. " This is known as Jevons paradox. Make something more efficient, and we will use more of it -sometimes so much more that the new widgets in total use more resource than the old. A lot of people when they encounter this paradox jump to the conclusion that technofixes are completely useless. Marcus has a real point. Most of our consumers are not very numerate, or energy smart. Stickers, and labels will be ignored if they are not understood. This gives the marketing advantage to the manufacturer who saves $.10 per widget at the cost to the consumer in lifetime costs of (say) $10. Minimum standards at least limit the damage that can be done.


The reason Gary is an idiot is he is an energy pig bragging about saving energy. Like Al gore he lives in huge house and uses a huge amount energy


There is a reason I think Bob Wallace is dishonest.
There is a reason I think this is ironic.

Actually, if Kit P was really an independent adult in the 1950's, he's well into his 70's by now.  This rambling of his may be some form of senility.

Exotic Cars

wether we like it or not, fuel prices will keep on rising. so many factors pointed out which contributes to the crises. the main reason is simply the law of supply and demand.

the major oil players like OPEC are very smart that they are able to control the supply to make an artificial demand.

the best we can do is to conserve fuel by using less or none at all. stay away from those luxury cars..

Hybrid SUV and
Renewable Fuel Source


Wanna double your miles per gallon without changing your car? Get the WATER HYBRID CONVERSION guide to learn how to convert your car into a water hybrid @ https://paydotcom.com/r/47165/sabre23/18066767/


I had some hope for this concept, until they went and ruined the whole illusion by mentioning 'carbon credits', and the Kyoto treaty crap! Now I have to find this whole thing suspect until it is proven to me, that it actually works for producing the equivalent of any fuel you need. Now it appears to be just so much leftest garbage!

As for Gary, I won't call you an Idiot, but you make statements, which are beyond ignorant! There has been no steel production in the US for over 20 years! All thanks to the unions, who have driven all major manufacturing out of this country! No, you are beyond an idiot! You are a pseudo intellectual who has forsaken 'truth' for the false religion of 'environmentalism'! Your leftist leaders are exceptional idiots! They know the truth, and have spawned an army of little ignoramuses like you who will dutifully make them rich, by allow them to tax your little 'carbon producing' asses off, all to make themselves the rich fat cats! What hypocracy!


Interesting conversation. I especially like the parts where thoughts are expressed (as opposed to name-calling).

The original study has a narrower scope than that assumed by the comments above. It is limited to only energy efficiency programs administered through retailers (utilities). In addition, each measure is analyzed for economics (do the savings pay back the investment in a reasonable amount of time?), for customer acceptance (will people use CFL's even if they are free?) and for implementation (many US utilities have never run an efficiency program).

There is also a "technical potential" (not reported) that includes all options for efficiency regardless of cost and this number reaches 30% and more than offsets load growth by 2030.


UK-EPC is an independent energy services company, our provision of impartial advice to owners of residential, commercial and public properties has been helping organisations and individuals make their property more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. We have extensive home energy and renewable expertise, providing comprehensive solutions and an excellent service. http://www.uk-epc.co.uk/

x-ray fluorescence

Nice conversation.Energy Star is useful in that it provides a quick guide for the shopper who doesn't take the time to look at actual numbers....


Reducing energy consumption is vital and pleasing to see positive solutions to the issue. Not only will this help save money, it will save our planet


I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




Interesting article. We all need to watch our usage of energy and conserve so we do not end up with power outages. Keep up the good work. Great blog.


Interesting article. We all need to watch our usage of energy and conserve so we do not end up with power outages. Keep up the good work. Great blog.


oilfield equipment

we definitely need to conserve alot. lets everybody chip in and do this.


I have always tried to be careful in conserving resources. There are always ways to find new conservation methods, just one step at a time.

wholesale dropshippers sources vendors

this so good i just love the new technology.


Im glad that this stuff is out there. I'll pass it on, thank you

Denver Mortgage

Is this going to last?




I'm finding that more and more people in the UK are buying electric boilers due to the uncertainty of oil and gas prices in the domestic sector. This is becasue there are currently fixed term contracts available for electricity supply plans.

Energy Performance Certificate EPC

Make your home greener with an Energy Performance Certificate or EPC - one way to save on bills and the planet. Especially landlord EPC

Photo Canvas

Cant believe gonernments are kicking their heels on this act now!!!

Rackmount LCD

Energy efficiency improvements in the U.S. electric power sector could reduce electric consumption by 7 to 11 percent more than currently projected over the next two decades.


That is a great article. Thank you for sharing.

penis enlargement

EPRI Analysis Finds Utility Based Energy Efficiency Programs Could Cut Energy Consumption 7-11 %

It is low but very good,


I think its a big problem and even small savings such as these can make a big difference. Know more about the issue of conservation here:

Dear Coupons

I recently came accross to your blog.I have find many new things. href="http://www.dearcoupon.com/store/4inkjets.com">4inkjets coupon provides you a great schemes for network devices.


An interesting article, perhaps in the future governments may introduce carbon tax dependent on energy performance of domestic homes. We also have information about Energy Performance Certificates EPC www.epcforepcs.co.uk in the UK for Energy Assessment of buildings find out more at

Commercial EPC

Energy Efficiency programs have now crossed to the UK from the EU. Commercial buildings and business premises will now be subject to survey for asset ratings as part of the European directive. Property owners will be encouraged to improve efficiency of buildings as part of the drive to lower carbon emissions.

Business Improvement Training

The problem is efficiency and productivity makes us richer so we can afford more consumer goods......


This is a great article.
Speaking of efficiency on a consumer level, http://www.TogetherWeSave.com works towards making little changes add up to big savings as well. Looks like they've already hit $10m.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles