Saving Energy—Politics or Business?
Vladimir Lenin once remarked that politics was the most concentrated expression of economics. The recent history of nations shows that the greatest successes in the field of energy have been achieved by the wealthy countries in Western Europe, North America plus Japan. Recently, greater attention to energy saving and environmental protection is occurring in wealthy countries of the Middle East and the developing countries of China and India. Less wealthy countries lack the financial resources to implement widespread energy conservation and environmental protection improvements. Many leading international companies have transferred production facilities to these countries, reducing their production costs and taxes while avoiding the costs of energy savings improvements and stiffer environmental regulations elsewhere.
Many countries can be justifiably proud of their evolution toward energy efficiency. However, are optimal decisions regarding the use of energy efficient technologies always based solely on economics? The answer to this question is certainly not. The reasons are often related to political circumstances rather than economic. This article presents a pragmatic approach to feasibility assessments to achieve reductions in energy usage and generate energy cost savings. Case assessments including lamp replacements, wind turbine generators, frequency converters, throttling, and electric motors show that using energy efficient equipment is not always feasible. Their implementation is largely explained by political influences in the project implementation decisionmaking process.
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