Nevada energy plan puts IT to work
- By Nicholas Morehead
- May 30, 2001
Nevada identifies information technology as part of both the problem and
solution in its new Energy Conservation Plan for State Government.
The plan which outlines ways Nevada departments and commissions can help control
the state's energy costs and keep the lights on for all Nevadans recommends
upgrading computers and monitors to more energy-efficient models.
But the plan also suggests that, in the short term, agencies do a better
job using those computers to share information, rather than relying on old-fashioned
face-to-face meetings so often.
"Teleconferencing, email, video conferencing they're all more energy-efficient
options than, say, driving your car across town to a client meeting," said
Bob Balzar, director of regional power company Sierra Pacific Resources'
"Project Take Control".
The plan also suggests upgrading internal networks so it's more feasible
for people to print to centralized printers rather than having the equipment
spread throughout departments.
And when more creative uses of technology to conserve energy for Nevada
are proposed, the state will be ready to recommend them, said Jack Finn,
a spokesman for Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn (gov.state.nv.us). "This is
not a stagnant plan. It will be updated as new proposals and remedies are
brought to light," he said.
For example, Terry Savage, director of the state's Department of Information
Technology (doitweb.state.nv.us), said the Internet could support the use
of a peak-hour pricing scheme in which consumers pay higher energy prices
when demand is most intense.
For starters, a system could be set up to send detailed pricing information
to consumers' home computers. Then, if a consumer wants to spend only so
much a month on energy bills, such information can be loaded into a program
that shuts off or reduces the use of certain non-essential appliances such as air conditioners or water heaters once the price threshold is
reached for a given month.
"There's no better incentive for conservation than high prices," Savage
said. "What this program would do is allow the consumer to control what
they spend on energy, and at the same time, allow the Internet to be the
main facilitator for the process."
He added, "There's no new technology needed for this, but it, like most
things, is a question of economics."