In a blog entry on this site entitled A Case of Poor Planning, we pointed out that Peter Shumlin was surprised when he realized that there is no plan for a post Vermont Yankee energy plan. Never fear Peter, MEREDITH ANGWIN over at Yes Vermont Yankee has discovered a plan offered by Vermont Senator Dick McCormack.
The two main points of Senator McCormack’s plans seem to be:
“He also says energy efficiency is important.”
“As McCormack explains, the long-term plan is about cutting back on our electric use.”
The implication here is that we can cut back on our overall electric use if we employ energy efficiency. This sounds good, but the only way it works in actual practice is to not grow our economy. In the real world, energy efficiency has led to an increase in overall energy use as the uses of devices that require energy greatly multiply the more efficient they become. The notion that greater energy efficiency ultimately leads to even greater energy use seems counter intuitive, but the facts bear it out. Take the computer. The first computer was a huge energy consuming monster. As time went on individual computers consumed less energy and could do more. The upshot was that the increase in efficiency led to an increase in computer use. The increase in computer use more than offset the decrease in the amount of energy needed to power each computer. The result is that computers use for more energy over all an the relatively few energy hungry giants did in the early days of the computer revolution. The same is true in many other sectors of or economy. In short, energy efficiency spurs economic growth, which in turn requires MORE energy/power. For a more detailed explanation of this phenomenon, I suggest checking out “The Bottomless Well”
Is Senator McCormack going to call for the halt to economic growth that would make his plan feasible?