I tweeted Tuesday that 1/2 of us don’t take basic actions to save electricity in our homes (citing Greenwise) and wondered whether all that wasted electricity might be equivalent to a nuclear power station. When I got home I took a stab at the numbers.
The verdict? There’s more than just one nuclear power station lurking in that wastage.
Just installing in-home energy displays is likely to lead to savings of between 5% and 15%, according to Oxford ECI. That’s roughly equivalent to 1-2 new nuclear power stations. Keep in mind that there are only 9 power stations in Britains current nuke fleet.
Energy displays coupled with prepayment are likely to result in savings of up to 20%, equivalent to 3 power stations.
And the savings achieved by a highly motivated member of an Eco-Team (an energy efficiency club that kicked off in Holland in the 80′s and has since spread to the UK) would eliminate the need for around 4 power stations, or just under half of Britain’s current nuclear fleet!
This is telling us – no more like shouting at us – that there’s a whole lot of generation capacity hiding in the energy we currently waste. And we’re only talking about behaviour change – not elaborate retrofit. The cost to access these negawatts is a lot lower than the cost of building, running and decommissioning new nukes. Nevermind the cost of scratching our heads while we wonder what to do with the waste.
We shouldn’t panic so much about keeping the lights on. Some of them should clearly be switched off.
Here’s where my numbers come from:
- The figures on display meters and other savings from behaviour change come from ECI, as linked above.
- Number of UK households from the ONS.
- Average UK household electricity consumption from OFGEM (pdf).
- Average load factor for nuclear power stations in 2010 from British Energy (aka EDF)
Ain’t the internet great?