With the current high-priced energy environment — where demand for oil continues to outstrip supply and with the addition of the undeniable fact of oil prices – not likely to ‘ever again’ be as low as they were only a couple of years ago ; the U.S must rethink its energy mix and develop diverse sources of renewable energy.
The reality is that the U.S. economy will be dependent on fossil fuels for energy production for some time to come. Another reality is – that based on supply uncertainties, with many oil fields already passed their peak — we simply can not continue consuming energy at the same rate we have done in the past.
It is very apparent, even to casual observers of the energy market, that global energy demand is skyrocketing. Consequently, it’s only imperative at this point that we start doing more to spur additional, prudent, and environmentally-responsible domestic exploration for renewable energies.
Billionaire Boone Pickens, said it best when he testified before a U.S. Senate panel:
“our dependence on imported oil, threatens national security”.
I believe the energy situation we are faced with, is rather serious and because of it – our complexity as a society is being threatened, unless ; we address the renewable energy issue – starting now.
In the meantime, there are some encouraging signs. Pickens himself is building the largest wind farm in the world in West Texas. The farm is projected to produce 4,000 megawatts of energy, equivalent to two and one-half nuclear power plants. Furthermore, another place that has already started to work toward generating energy from other than oil and more importantly from domestic resources – is Rock Port Missouri.
According to ScienceDaily, the city of Rock Port uses approx. 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. With a population of just over 1,300 residents, Rock Port has announced that it is the first 100% wind powered community in the United States. Its four wind turbines which are located on agricultural lands within the city limits, produce 16 million kilowatt hours each year – suppling all the electricity for the small town.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency estimates that U.S. electricity demand will grow by 39% into year 2030, reaching 5.8 billion megawatt-hours (MWh) by 2030.
The bottom line is — we must diversify our nation’s energy supply in a cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally responsible manner. This however, can not be achieved without government’s assistance and its commitment which so far has been almost non-existent.
Let’s keep in mind a crucial point. In order for us to successfully address energy security, the nation needs to pursue specific and well-calculated energy strategies which will be employed to meet the growing energy demand. And while this depends on innovations in technology, it also equally depends – on strategic and a committed collaboration between the federal government and the private sector.