In case studies 1-4, considerations of energy use were purely environmental. Decision-making processes, however, need to factor in economics as this may change rankings entirely: if a limited amount of money has to be spent, cheaper solutions may be implemented numerous times and thus the multiple uses of smaller changes may even outperform a single grandiose scheme. To assess the economic aspects of electricity use, a simple yet powerful exercise will be conducted in this chapter.
One million Euros can be invested a million ways, but two of them were chosen for this purpose: (1) a wind-power turbine that will allow electric power generation with almost no carbon dioxide emissions, and (2) an electric motor with a high efficiency construction. While the one creates practically emission-free power, the other reduces the electricity consumed. The question investigated here is: which one prevails when environmental gains are factored in with their costs?