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Electricity management is a term that can be applied to the process of providing electricity through the promotion of several different methods focusing on conservation and reliability. This promotion helps sustain natural resources, and also reduces consumers' bills. Electricity management also focuses on supply, trying to supplement fossil-based fuels with renewable sources. This multi-faceted approach further helps reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, while new technologies are being developed that may one day permanently replace fossil fuels for baseload power.
One of the ways to accomplish electricity management is through the promotion of energy efficient technologies. Through the use of government grants, utility companies may offer home owners subsidies to replace windows, insulation, and even light bulbs. All of these items can help by reducing air leakage during both warmer and colder months. Some money may even be available to purchase more energy efficient appliances, especially if it is replacing an older, less efficient model.
In addition to these programs offered to individuals on a personal scale, the government has implemented large-scale policies as well. One of the most common of these electricity management programs is the daylight savings period. As hours of daylight are added at the end of the day, the sun sets later. Thus, there are fewer hours between sunset and the time most people go to bed, which naturally results in a need for less artificial lighting.
Regarding the supply of power, electricity management can be used to supply both traditional baseload power, which is the power the utility can reasonable assume is going to be in demand at any given point, and more non-traditional sources. For example, a power company may generate most of its electricity from a coal plant, but can supplement this with wind and hydroelectric plants. The diversification of resources also enables a power company to continue supplying electricity even if one source is disrupted. Often, what techniques are chosen for power generation depend on the location of the company's production facilities, and the ability to transport electricity from those facilities.
Though most electricity management programs are optional, some are mandatory or soon may become so, especially if they involve the burning of fossil fuels. For example, carbon cap and trade laws currently being considered or implemented in some countries restrict the amount of carbon emissions a company can produce. This is mainly aimed at power companies, who are the biggest carbon emitters. This program is not optional, and is considered another regulatory policy.
@everetra - At first glance it appears that the utilities may be at odds with government regulations, as I don’t think that they favor regulations about greenhouse gas emissions. However, I don’t know if this is a deeply held conviction or part of the parlor games that government and industry often play together before reaching for a compromise.
For example, I am seeing a lot of commercials on television by the oil and gas industry which stress how much investments they’re making in renewable energy. I think they understand this is the way things are going and they’ll have to meet government half way.
As for government regulations, I am in favor of them as long as they don’t come down too hard and too fast on private industry.
@hamje32 - Those devices are useful, but as to your point about private industry, I think private companies have long been involved in leading the way towards implementing electrical power management technologies.
Take compact fluorescent light bulbs as one such example. These light bulbs are much more energy efficient than their tungsten counterparts and save money as well. Our company even passes out free CFL bulbs as part of their “green” initiative.
Another example is PC power management. It used to be that you had to turn off your computer to save energy; now, most households leave their computers on most of the time, thanks to PC power management which puts the computer in an idle, power saving mode when it’s not in use.
My point is that private industry is leading the way; they can work hand in hand with government regulations rather than always being at odds.
I think that as we turn away from reliance on fossil fuels and more towards renewable fuels, electric management will become paramount. And private companies will step in to fill the bill with energy monitoring devices.
Just the other day I read that Microsoft was coming up with a new device that would not only monitor the electrical usage in your home, but would tell you the most efficient way to use your appliances so as to cut down on electricity usage and save costs.
This invention is part of joint partnership that Microsoft is doing with Ford. Ford is involved because they’re pushing their electric cars, and the idea is that with more electric cars in use, more electricity will be used.
I think that this invention is a great idea and I’m glad that private industry is involved in solving the energy problems we face.
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