Saturday, September 10, 2011

How much coal do you burn each month?

The headline from the Post - Dispatch reads: Leaks from Ameren toxic waste pond in Labadie stir fears. It seems like energy production is problematic in many, many ways.

Labadie, the largest coal-fired power plant in Missouri was a featured part of my Pecha Kucha presentation Thursday evening. Among other things I want folks in the region to pay attention to their electric bills. How many kilowatt hours (kWh) per month do you use? What steps can be taken to reduce that number?

Here are a few stats about the coal burned at Labadie from some work I did with the St. Louis Beacon a couple of years ago:

Our electric comes from a regional grid and it is generated from various sources: coal, nuclear, natural gas, etc. Still, 85% of what we use come from coal-fired plants.

What would the effect be if all the power for your electric use came from Labadie? Something like this:

The take away is, in part, that it takes more than a pound of coal to generate one kWh of electricity from the plant. The more efficient we get the less coal will be burned, the less fly ash generated and so on.

On the home front we did a serious upgrade on our HVAC system. The net effect is that we used 700 kWh less in  August 2011 than in August 2010 and I'm willing to bet we had a hotter August this year.