I’m constantly amazed at how little action our government is willing to take to give us energy independence. The liberals seem to be stymied by the environmentalists, the conservatives seem to be stymied by big oil. Meanwhile, the country is at risk from foes, foreign and domestic due to our reliance on foriegn oil. One of the few enumerated powers the federal government actually has is to provide for our protection. The federal government is falling short – they need to man up and do something.
1. Immediately start building nuclear power plants. It will take years to get the reactors online, so we need to start several years ago, but now is the best we can do.
2. Once the nuclear power plants are online, we can stop using coal and oil to provide for our electricity (we need to maintain backup power plants though, so don’t destroy them – just take them offline). We need to keep doing everything we can to increase solar, wind and hydroelectric power production. But that shouldn’t be our only options – they just aren’t sufficient to the task.
3. Start producing Jet fuel and Diesel from Coal and Natural Gas. The process is well known (Fischer Tropsch). We can then have a steady supply of fuel for our aviation and transportation industries.
4. Increase fuel efficiency of our cars. This is low lying fruit that is easily accomplished if the industry would get off their collective butts. The electricity from the nuke plants can power our cars for those of us who do short commutes to work, school or shopping.
5. Long term, we need to think about building solar collectors in space. The sun is a wonderful fusion reactor that burns all the time. It’s literally throwing energy in all directions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Lets get up there and collect it!
On another related topic – we need to start building massive desalination plants also. Our costal communities import the majority of their water from other areas of the country when they have the oceans of water within miles. This water can be used to grow food, biomass for biofuel projects and help lower green house emmissions (plant more trees!)