Efficiency of Electric Baseboard Heat, Recycling Energy and Renewable Energy

1. A home builder installs electric baseboard heat and claims, "It is the cheapest and cleanest way to go." Apply your understanding of the second law of thermodynamics and net energy efficiency chain to evaluate this claim.

2. Someone tells you we can save energy by recycling it. How should you respond?

3. Should government tax breaks and other subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power be phased out and replaced with subsidies and tax breaks for improving energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives. Explain

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... thermodynamic perspective lends to an argument regarding energy efficiency. In this case gas still wins. To make heat from electricity one must first burn coal, or gas, or do something else (nuclear energy, impounded water, windmills, etc). In the case of combustion, heat is transferred to a working fluid (water) to generate steam to turn a turbine to make electricity that is then transmitted along power lines (with various transformers along the way to step voltages up or down) - and along the way, each step accrues losses because when we transform energy from one form to another, thermodynamics ...