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It's a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric "Efficiency".

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1996

to this occasion. Similar conclusions were reached in December 1992 in a National Petroleum Council (NPC) report requested by DOE, The Potential for Natural Gas in the United States:

"The gas industry's challenge for technology development and commercialization involves continued funding by the producing segment of the industry, increased incentives for investing in technology by the regulated segments, and justification for investment in commercialization of end-use technologies. Also, the low level of federal government spending on gas-related technologies, relative to other energy sources, suggests a need to reexamine the potential benefits of investments in this segment, particularly in light of evidence that natural gas is an abundant natural resource with superior environmental qualities."

Hopefully, this discussion has helped to identify some of the issues that need to be reexamined to increase, rather than decrease, competitive alternatives. t

Mark Krebs is director of market planning at Laclede Gas Co., St. Louis., MO, and chairman of the American Gas Cooling Center's education committee.

Considering that some 200 million or so reciprocating engines can be found operating in America's cars and trucks, just a one-percent efficiency increase would reduce the nation's greenhouse gases more than any single concept identified in the Clinton/Gore Climate Change Action Plan.

Unfortunately, federal funding for R&D for reciprocating engine technologies is virtually non-existent compared to that for electric utility power plants.

In theory, electric utilities should show indifference towards, "ecowatts," "negawatts," or therms.

Since avoided costs are considerably higher for electric utilities than for gas distributors, electric utilities can spend significantly more to increase energy efficiency.

According to a recent DOE funded study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory sponsored by DOE, electric utilities are increasingly using DSM to build load.

"Valley filling" and "strategic load growth" have become the preferred IRP/DSM load shape objectives under the guise of energy "efficiency."

Gas utilities have been denied the chance to use avoided costs as incentive mechanisms, however minor they may be in comparison to electric utilities, since regulatory approved "DSM" or "IRP" programs for natural gas simply do not exist.


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