《经济学人》:节能以人为本 Back to basics
日期:2011-11-08 09:29

(单词翻译:单击)

Back to basics
节能以人为本

Energy efficiency is not very flashy. That may be a selling point
能源增效并不那么高高在上,也许它还是个卖点。

Hope those are energy-saving bulbs
希望大家都使节能灯泡

WHEN Richard Sanchez heard from a friend that the city of San Antonio would pick up most of the costs of installing a new lighting system in his barbershop, he quickly made a call. The city was running a new programme called City Lights, funded by a $2m grant from the 2009 stimulus, designed to make energy-efficient improvements to small businesses. But Mr Sanchez was not exactly motivated by greenery. “It was way better than our older lighting, which was costing twice as much,” he explains.

一位朋友告诉理查德.桑切斯,要是他为自己的理发店申请新型照明系统的话,圣安东尼奥市政府将承担大部分初始安装费。随即桑切斯先生便拨打了报装电话。圣安东尼奥市在2009年推出一项名曰“城市照明”的计划,政府投入两百万补助,旨在小型商业企业中推广能源增效。但温室效应对环境的影响并不是打动桑切斯先生的真正原因。他给出的解释是:“新安装的灯具比过去的强多了。耗电量是过去灯具的一半”

For many years energy efficiency was the poor relation to cutting-edge clean technology initiatives like wind and solar. But now the more workaday strategies are getting a new look-in. Efficiency measures can often save as much power as the more glamorous efforts can produce, at a fraction of the cost. One widely used estimate comes from a 2009 report from McKinsey, which reckoned that America could reduce its non-transport energy consumption by roughly 23% by 2020 through efficiency savings alone.

多年来,能源增效就好像风能和太阳能这样的高端清洁能源的穷亲戚一样不起眼。而当下更切合实际的推广策略使人们对能源增效有了新的认识。增效举措常常能比那些更风光的清洁能源节省下一样多的电能,而成本只占一小部份。要知道,要想产出如此大的电能,投入不菲。2009年McKinsey提出的一份报告被广泛地提及。报告中预计,仅能源增效这一举措,到2020年,美国的非交通能源消耗就会减少大约23%。

Some cities have come up with specific targets for efficiency. In San Antonio, the municipally owned power provider, CPS Energy, has plans to cut its consumption by 771 megawatts through energy efficiency by 2020, using various incentives and nudges. Customers who buy highly efficient cooling systems rather than the minimum-standard kind can, for example, get a rebate to make up the difference in price. As the more efficient systems yield lower bills, this is quite an attractive proposition. The 771MW figure represents about 10% of the utility’s current generation capacity, or about as much as a typical coal-fired power plant can produce. This summer, in fact, CPS announced that it will shut down a 900MW coal-fired plant by 2018, a Texas first.

美国的一些城市已经提出有针对性地节能目标。在圣安东尼奥市,国有发电企业CPS Energy, 计划通过推广多种鼓励计划和促进手段,通过能源增效,使用电量在2020年下降771兆瓦。举例来说,消费者在购买高效节能制冷设备,而不是最低节能标准的机型时,其中的差价由政府买单。节能项目越多,未来电费越低,这个议题实在是太能吸引眼球了。之前所提及的771兆瓦等同于当前公用系统发电能力的10%,即一家普通燃煤发电厂的发电量。事实上,在今年夏天CPS就已宣布,将在2018年首先关闭一家位于得克萨斯州境内,额定发电量为900兆瓦的燃煤发电厂。

Environmentalists hailed the announcement: coal is the most villainous fossil fuel. As with the customers, though, the city’s motivation was mostly pragmatic. San Antonio has its share of greenish priorities—downtown redevelopment, an electric fleet—but in deciding to close the coal-fired plant, the spur was simply cost. Installing a scrubber that would have brought the coal plant in question up to the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards would have cost half a billion dollars. The utility was keen to put off that expense, if not avoid it altogether, by making up the demand with natural gas or solar. Julián Castro, San Antonio’s mayor, argues that the energy efficiency is a complement to the latter, rather than a competitor. “One of the ways to bridge the time that those renewables need is by reducing the need for new energy,” he says.

煤是对环境破坏最大的矿石燃料。难怪关闭燃煤发电厂的消息一出,环保支持者为之欢呼雀跃。但对于消费者来说,市政府的鼓励措施才是最实惠的。圣安东尼奥有自己的环保首要目标:市区内城重修和公共交通电动化。但在关闭燃煤电厂上,促使市政府下决心的却是真金白银。为燃煤发电厂安装一个净化器将花费5亿美元,而且还有可能会招致环境保护局对标准是否达标而挑三拣四。要是花了大钱还引来了环保局的质疑就太不划算了。公用局强烈主张不购买这套净化系统,转而增加天然气或太阳能的发电量来缓解用电需求。圣安东尼奥的市长,Julián Castro提出能源增效是对天然气和太阳能发电的一种补充,而不是竞争。他表示:“在再生能源转化的时期,可行方式之一就是减少对新能源的需求。”

It may be that cities like San Antonio are unusually well-placed to pursue energy efficiency. Having a municipally-owned utility, for example, helps local politicians plan an energy portfolio that meshes with their other concerns; this is one reason why nearby Austin Energy, which is owned by the tech-centric city of Austin, has an unusually strong renewables standard. But the energy efficiency approach could have broad appeal. The benefits are easily realised, the costs are reasonable, and the risks of something going wrong are relatively small.

或许,像圣安东尼奥这样的城市在大力推广能源增效方面拥有罕见的优势。比如,某些由市政府所有的公用局,可以帮助当地政客把能源策略和他们关切的其它问题联系起来共同组织。邻近的Austin Energy归将奥斯汀市,该市将科技发展摆在突出位置,罕见地制定了极为严格的可再生能源标准,其原因之一也在于此。不过(尽管圣安东尼奥可能还是个特例)能源增效这一方式还可以吸引更多城市参与其中。好处容易实现,花费更为合理,而走弯路的危险却相对较小。

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重点单词
  • complementn. 补足物,补语,余角 vt. 辅助
  • currentn. (水、气、电)流,趋势 adj. 流通的,现在的,
  • efficientadj. 效率高的,胜任的
  • announcementn. 通知,发表,宣布
  • appealn. 恳求,上诉,吸引力 n. 诉诸裁决 v. 求助,诉
  • capacityn. 能力,容量,容积; 资格,职位 adj. (达到最
  • typicaladj. 典型的,有代表性的,特有的,独特的
  • approachn. 接近; 途径,方法 v. 靠近,接近,动手处理
  • pursuev. 追捕,追求,继续从事
  • avoidvt. 避免,逃避