During an August 2007 heat wave, Californians found an easy way to "produce" 1000 megawatts of electricity, the same proposed capacity of the Sunrise Powerlink. How? By saving energy. This not only avoided a power alert, it saved consumers money without adding new energy infrastructure like power plants and transmission lines.
Today, energy efficiency and conservation need to become not just emergency measures but a part of our everyday lives. Surprisingly, it can be as simple as flipping a light switch. Large corporations such as Ford Motor Co. already know this, saving up to $50 million annually through energy efficiency. From simple measures like low-cost compact fluorescent light bulbs (available at most major retailers) to energy-efficient appliances, improved insulation and smart landscaping, consumers and business owners can take a variety of simple steps to create more energy by reducing demand, all while saving money.
More than individual choices are necessary, however. Our energy regulatory structure should be changed to reward SDG&E and other utilities for promoting conservation and less for building massive, wasteful projects like transmission lines.
To find out more about energy-efficient choices you can make, go to the Center for Sustainable Energy website.