– By John Vincent, Former Montana Public Service Commissioner
It’s recently become all too clear that “big power” is “waging war” on energy efficiency and conservation because it reduces the amount of power they sell and cuts into their profits. But for others (residential consumers, private businesses – both large and small, and corporations), energy efficiency is saving energy, saving money, and improving bottom lines. In addition, things like recycling are involved in energy efficiency because less landfill means less transportation and incinerators. Companies like phs Wastekit are a leading supplier of baler machinery and equipment and could be an easy way for businesses to recycle products that they would normally throw into the trash. Less generation, especially, but not exclusively, coal fired generation, reduces CO2 emissions (natural gas produces about half the CO2 of coal but also emits high quantities of methane, a “green house” gas 20 times more potent than CO2).
IDAHO’S J.R. SIMPLOT COMPANY LEADS THE WAY ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The J.R. Simplot Company shows the way to energy conservation and efficiency. This is a great example of the conservation/efficiency ethic being taken to heart by a major American business. With more than 10,000 employees, the J.R. Simplot Company is one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies. And, it’s no secret that the Simplots are a politically conservative family and business. They have fully embraced (dare it be said) a good, old fashioned conservative ethic; saving money……….. by using less energy and consequently also cutting costs.
Here’s what they’ve accomplished through energy efficiency and conservation since 2009:
– saved 1.3 trillion btu’s of natural gas (enough to take 29,929 cars off the road and keep 95,056 tons of co2 out of the air),
– reduced electrical use by 390,821,028 kilowatt hours (enough to take 35,400 homes off the grid),
– saved millions of dollars*.
Of course, when individuals and businesses save energy it also reduces the need for new and extremely costly centralized electrical generation plants and long distance, high voltage transmission lines – both of which would cost (not save) electric customers billions of dollars, pose a threat to the loss of private property rights through eminent domain, and harm the environment. When asked recently by the Idaho Statesman newspaper why they undertook their energy saving efforts, the Simplot family fell back on the words of the company’s founder, J.R. Simplot: “do well by doing good.”
*actual dollar amount of savings to be posted soon