GRE Argument Essay 47

The following appeared in a memorandum from the planning department of an electric power company.

“Several recent surveys indicate that homeowners are increasingly eager to conserve energy and manufacturers are now marketing many home appliances, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, that are almost twice as energy-efficient as those sold a decade ago. Also, new technologies for better home insulation and passive solar heating are readily available to reduce the energy needed for home heating. Therefore, we anticipate that the total demand for electricity in our area will not increase, and may decline slightly. Since our three electric generating plants in operation for the past 20 years have always met our needs, construction of new generating plants should not be necessary.”

The author has concluded this argument by saying that there is no need for an additional electric power plant in the area because the total electricity demand in the area is not likely to increase in the future. He has supported his conclusion by citing the availability of new energy-efficient home appliances and systems for homes, and the eagerness of area homeowners to conserve energy. However, the argument loosely relies on several doubtful assumptions, and is therefore unconvincing.

Firstly, the author has talked about homeowners who are increasingly eager to conserve energy and manufacturers who are now marketing many home appliances, such as refrigerators and air conditioners that are energy efficient. However, he has very conveniently ignored industries and offices. The author has not considered that business and commercial electricity usage is much more than what is used in homes. There is a possibility that businesses in the area will increase their use of electricity in the future and that total electricity consumption will actually increase despite declining residential demand of electric power.

The author’s statement also ignores the possibility of increase in population in that area. Hence, an increase in population would result in an increase in electricity usage even if homeowners use appliances that are more electricity efficient. Without taking into account all these possibilities, the author cannot conclude the argument by saying that the total demand for electricity will not increase in the future and therefore, there is no need to construct a new generating plant.

The next point that the author raises is that homeowners are eager to conserve energy. Even then, it is entirely possible that the residents will not be able to afford these new systems and appliances. The author is totally dependent on the assumption that the area residents will actually purchase and install the energy-saving appliances and systems the author is talking about.

Moreover, the author has not mentioned whether new technologies for better home insulation and passive solar heating will be effective for only newly constructed homes or these technologies will also work in the existing homes.

Finally, the author is assuming that no new electric power plants are needed because the three existing plants, which are 20 years old, have always been adequate for the area’s electricity needs. Again, the author has not considered that the 20 year old power plants themselves are using old technologies and hence, might be less energy efficient. While the new plants with new technologies and energy saving machines will be much more efficient. Anyways, machines in the old plants have to be replaced after some time.

Hence, all these points are against the author’s assertion. He has not supported his argument with strong evidence. The author must have supported his statement by showing that the area residents can afford the new energy-efficient appliances and systems and the electricity demand of the businesses in that area will also not increase in the near future. He should have explored whether the new energy-efficient technologies are available for businesses as well, and whether area businesses also plan to use them. The author should have studied about the expected changes in the area’s population, and about the condition and energy-efficiency of the three existing electric power plants.