Coffeemaker, microwave, toaster (< 30 minutes)
Television (4 hours)
Computer (24 hours)
Washing machine (< 30 minutes)
Automobile (17 miles)
Stovetop (20 minutes)
Lights (various rooms of apartment, used singly or in combination over a 6-hour period. No light stayed on for more than 1/2-hour)
Television (3 hours)
Stereo (6 hours)
Stovetop (2 20-minute blocks)
Automobile (8 miles)
Lights (various rooms of apartment, used singly or in combination over an 18-hour period. Living room light stayed on entire period because of overcast weather and insufficient natural light.
Computer (24 hours)
National Grid is an international energy delivery company that provides electricity and natural gas to over three million users in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York. National Grid generates electricity through nuclear power. The company has a website that features a great deal of information on its green energy initiatives, but says little about how it currently provides power to its customers. One option that is currently available is enrollment in the GreenUp program, allowing customers to choose to have all or part of their electricity generated from renewable resources. A link takes consumers to participating providers; the consumer selects the one with which it would like to do business and the transaction is still handled through National Grid. The options include wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, depending on the community in which one lives, and they are presented as alternatives to coal, gas and nuclear power. One assumes these last three are means through which National Grid currently provides power to its customers.
I am generally pretty conservative when it comes to energy use, being careful to turn out lights not being used and not running a great number of appliances. Still, there are ways to decrease energy use.
I enjoy coffee in the morning and program a coffeemaker the night before. Instead, I could make coffee just before I am ready and thus plug in the coffeemaker only when it is needed, rather than have it use energy all during the night. Although there is a clock on the coffeemaker, there are other clocks in the apartment I can use instead.
I forgot to take a loaf of bread out of the freezer for morning toast and used the microwave to defrost it. I have noticed my electric bill spikes when I use the microwave frequently. With planning, I can use it much less. I can defrost items in the refrigerator or on the counter and I can cook on the stovetop instead.
A final thing I can do at home is turn off appliances that are not in use. When I get ready in the morning, I often have the television on and I am not really paying much attention to it. I rarely shut down my computer because I do not like to wait for it to start up again, but the energy saved would be worth the very minimal amount of time lost for start up.
I do not generally do a lot of driving because I am mindful of the cost of fuel. I currently drive a Jeep Liberty, which is not the most fuel-efficient vehicle to drive. When I am able to afford another car, I will select a smaller one that gets better gas mileage.
If coal or heating oil came from Russia, I expect that prices would increase substantially. I am generally frugal with respect to heat in the winter, but I would probably keep the thermostat even a little lower and compensate by wearing heavier clothes indoors. Since I am a renter, I cannot replace the windows, but I could seal them with plastic to help with heat loss. I could also use a draft stopper at the front door.
The 130-turbine wind energy project to be constructed in Nantucket Sound has been controversial since the beginning. Opposition to the project was led by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and his nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has since taken up the cause. The Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport overlooks Nantucket Sound, but the Kennedys have argued that the costs associated with the project would be too high. National Grid, which has already agreed to buy half of Cape Wind’s power, says the project will add about $1.50 a month to the average home electric bill (Cassidy, 2011). One suspects that the Kennedys’ objections have more to do with their own personal aesthetics than with cost burden to end users. Still, Kennedy argues that power from Cape Wind would be much more costly than what is available from Hydro-Quebec, a Canadian-based power generator that gets its power from hydroelectric dams.
Opponents of the Cape Wind project have filed a ballot question that would require energy companies such as NStar and National Grid compete for the right to distribute energy from renewable projects (State House News Service, 2011). I support companies’ rights to distribute energy from the project without having to compete with one another. The proposed legislation was designed by opponents of the project, who want to use a new law to place further roadblocks in the way of progress. Wind energy is clean and renewable. The aesthetic concerns of a relatively few should not have precedence over the needs of current and future generations.
Cassidy, P. (2011). Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. slams Cape Cod Wind. CapeCodOnline.
Retrieved from http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article
National Grid. (2011). GreenUp. Retrieved from http://www.nationalgridus.com
State House News Service. (2011). Cape Wind foes pushing forced bidding on energy costs. Cape Cod Times 08/05/11. Retrieved from http://www.capecodonline
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