What Does Energy Efficiency Mean?

For most people energy efficiency means putting the lights out when leaving a room, using the car less, or enabling energy saving modes on devices. Generally energy efficiency means to do more with less energy instead of wasting it as useless heat. On a broader scale it is not only a question of how to use electricity but also of how to generate and distribute it. Efficient generation of electricity is crucial to reduce greenhouse gases and fight the negative consequences of climate change especially as the world’s energy needs are constantly growing.

Nowadays fossil fuels are still important to maintain a stable energy network. In the US 85 percent of the energy comes from fossil fuels. Therefore energy efficiency in fossil power generation should be fostered. Only about 35 percent of the energy generated by coal power stations results in electric power. Producing electricity at the highest possible efficiencies would reduce CO2 emissions dramatically. Gas turbines and combined cycle power plants contribute to use fossil energy in a more sustainable manner. Short startup times, low startup emissions and little use of water are important. Combined heat and power plants are among the most efficient methods to generate energy.

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