Thursday, 2 September 2010

Cut emissions simply with the flick of a switch

Imperial College LondonImage via Wikipedia

Cutting the UK's emissions by as much as a third could be as simple as switching off appliances as the mains when not in use and by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs. That's the verdict of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change. The highly respected Institute is a part of Imperial College London and so is seen as something of an expert of the subject.

They imply that there has been a significant under-estimation of the impact of simple energy-saving measures and that if implemented the measures could result in the equivalent  of 10 gas-fired power stations being de-commissioned. This error in estimating the impact of such simple and cheap measures lies in mistakes made by the Government in calculating the CO2 output of different power stations. It seems that average emission rates were used in the calculations but when demand peaks it's the case that demand is met by coal and gas power stations as they can react quickest to fluctuations in demand. By cutting the requirement for energy there would fewer fluctuations requiring a quick rise in energy generation and so the CO2 output of gas and coal stations should be used in calculating reductions in CO2 emissions.

When you consider that the Government has recently admitted it will fail to meet it's target for 2010 by a wide margin, its crucial that the public is encouraged to take more responsibility for reducing energy consumption. This also gives a further boost to the moves to introduce smart meters so consumers can monitor their use of electricity more effectively and to engage them more in the drive to reduce consumption.

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