Energy News: Three stories about energy efficiency, focusing on computers, landed in my inbox today -- with a big asterisk attached. The stories are: Google Plans Renewable Energy Push -- they want to make one a gigawatt of clean energy cheaper to produce than the same amount of coal; HP Enters Two Renewable-Energy Contracts -- they're using solar and wind power for facilities in San Diego and Ireland; and Climate Savers Computing Initiative Empowers Smarter Computing Choices -- there's an online catalog of green desktops and servers, but it's only for companies that pay to join the Climate Savers group and the systems' green-ness are just vendor claims, not independently tested. The asterisk is a new CIBC report, Energy efficiency regulations have little impact on saving energy, helping the environment or reducing dependency on foreign oil. Said the CIBC analyst, "In order for efficiency to actually curb energy usage, as opposed to energy intensity, consumers must be kept from reaping the benefits of those initiatives in ever-greater energy consumption. Otherwise, energy usage will be the beneficiary of our best efforts towards greater energy efficiency.

Update, Dec. 17 -- Ted Samson has more on the problems with Climate Savers.