According to the South Carolina Energy Office’s 2005 Energy Statistical Profile “South Carolina spends $10 billion per year on energy and ranks 18th in the nation in total energy consumption per capita”. The profile also states that our per capita energy consumption is above the U.S. average.
Now if I’m not mistaken, except for some hydro electric, South Carolina imports practically all of its energy for consumption. We have no coal. We have no natural gas. We have no oil. Even our nuclear industry imports the fuel that keeps it running. So while we certainly need to import these energy sources for the good of our state and overall economy, I think we all can also hear that giant sucking sound as our state bleeds itself of wealth by not taking energy conservation completely seriously. It’s time to stop the bleeding.
Our stated goal should be 50th on the states list of per capita energy consumption. Fiftieth by a mile. We should be looking to ourselves for an immediate 10% reduction in per capita energy consumption followed by at least an additional 10% by the end of 2009.
There are many steps that will need to be taken for this to happen, but first is the regular collection and publication of energy consumption data. In this day and age when financial data is collected and tabulated on a daily basis, there is no reason that we can’t collect this information from energy providers in a timely fashion and for very little cost.
By publishing this information, and relying on a concurrent public service campaign as well as expecting the involvement of the fourth estate, we will be able to put forth a significant measure. Rather than depending on us to watch our individual energy usage numbers, which incrementally mean very little, we will have a large measure that we all can contribute to and be a part of. For example, based on the 2005 statistical profile a 10% energy usage reduction would be a $1 billion dollar a year savings for the people of South Carolina, and that ain’t no chicken feed.