Sunday, June 8, 2008

What's a Negawatt?

A few weeks ago my Montreal development representative Michael Jeffcott passed on this article from the Economist.

The article is titled "The elusive negawatt" and it asked the question:
"If energy conservation both saves money and is good for the planet, why don't people do more of it?"

A very good question for those of us concerned by measurement and verification.

From the article:

IN WONKISH circles, energy efficiency used to be known as “the fifth fuel”: it can help to satisfy growng demand for energy just as surely as coal, gas, oil or uranium can. But in these enviroinmentally conscious times it has been climbing the rankings. Whereas the burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, and nuclear plants generate life-threatening waste, the only by-product of energy efficiency is wealth, in the form of lower fuel bills and less spending on power stations, pipelines and so forth. No wonder that wonks now tend to prefer “negawatts” to megawatts as the best method of slaking the world's growing thirst for energy.
The article give some preliminary, yet detailed, answers to the question put forward. It touches on the difficulty of measuring the value of energy efficiency versus, for example, a power plant but I think it would have helped to delve deeper into the nuances of M&V and the role it could play to help investors better understand energy efficiency.
Nathan Shetterley (
EVO New Media Director Tags: ,,