Environmental Conservation and Renewable Energy Cut Need For Fossil Fuels

The American economy is built on energy, and we've had so much access to so much energy for so many years that we have never put much of a priority on conservation.

But we could, and if we did, we might be able to follow in the footsteps of Denmark, which now predicts it's going to become totally independent of any need for fossil fuels within four decades, and Scotland, whichwill soon become a net exporter of clean, green electricity!

According to a new report for the Danish government's climate agency (the "Klimakomissionen"), cutting the energy used in most homes by half and improving the fuel efficiency of most cars on the road will take the country giant steps in the direction of energy independence, and will also help to reduce Denmark's greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% from its 1990 levels.

Even better, given the rising costs of fossil fuels and the benefits of limiting energy usage by conservation rather than just producing  more, the actual cost of reaching energy independence is said to be surprisingly low.

The plan calls for increased use of electricity, which now makes up only 20% of all energy usage in Denmark, and for most of this extra electricity to be generated by offshore wind farms, which the report finds to be an economically viable option for that country. The construction of a "smart grid" -- incorporating smart electric meters and time-controlled recharging for electric cars -- will be a vital element of the infrastructure required to make maximum use of all this additional electricity.

In addition, Denmark will shift more toward biomass as a source of energy to back-up the fluctuations inherent in wind power and -- along with solar heating and geothermal energy -- will be used to supply heat for homes and buildings.

Other strategies for Denmark include cutting the energy used in homes by half, improving the energy efficiency of most cars, and combining heat pumps with heat storage systems to create a viable system of heating homes and other buildings that doesn't require burning a single ounce of fossil fuel.

Another nation offering alternative energy leadership is Scotland, which is now on track to produce 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025, according to that country's First Minister Alex Salmond, and which could become a net exporter of electricity in the decades that follow.

“Scotland has unrivalled green energy resources," Salmond claims, "and our new national target to generate 80% of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 will be exceeded by delivering current plans for wind, wave and tidal generation."

These predictions stem from a brand new Offshore Valuation study, which also estimates that by 2050 Scotland could be producing seven times its own power needs and generating significant revenue by selling the extra electricity. All this can be achieved by developing just one-third of its potential offshore wind and marine power sources.

“Investment on this scale established today’s North Sea oil and gas industry,” says Salmond. “Scotland’s second wave of offshore energy offers unique investment opportunities to do so again and I'm confident that those will be grasped.”

More later ...

Photo credit: conner395