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Barbara's Virtual Pen

America's Pursuit of Energy Independence

August 11, 2009

Tags: energy, green, clean power, clean energy, energy independence

As you sit on the freeway wondering why you’re not moving with 250 horses under your hood, you might reflect on the fact that in the short span of the past hundred years or so, man has produced more wonders than the sum of all that came before. Since so many of our miraculous inventions depend upon energy in order to operate, we have paid a price for this world, particularly as far as our use of nonrenewable energy.

Of our traditional energy sources, coal, which is the most expensive, produces toxic radioactive waste. And to be honest, clean coal just doesn't exist; and is not likely to. The supply of fossil fuel, another restricted form of energy, has been dwindling while the number of people consuming it has been increasing. Our traditional power plants cause global climate change, acid rain, smog, toxic mercury emissions, consumption of water resources and pollution of water. Further, having to depend on outside sources for much of our energy is not economically sound.

Nonetheless, we have been loathe to change. It has been easier to expiate our guilt by the mere act of admitting the need for change. The truth is that we have lacked the leadership and the policies to change our ways. In the meantime, we have been most unkind to ourselves and to our environment. But witnessing the consequences of such environmental pollution as polar ice meltdown and sea level elevation, it is clear we must act.

Decision makers have long overlooked renewable energy and even misled us into believing there are insufficient resources in clean energy. For example, Detroit has told us for years that there were no viable options to their gas guzzlers. We now know better, and production of hybrid automobiles as well as other alternatives is becoming a reality. Unfortunately, America did not lead in this area.

Americans helped create our increasingly complex world, contributing many of the amazing inventions of the twentieth century such as the airplane, the microchip and nuclear energy, among many others. It would be fitting that we deal with the threat to our planet and its consequences for future generations. We must harness our mental prowess and exercise our expertise for another goal: energy independence through the development of clean energy. It is sometimes referred to as green energy, reflecting the expectation its use will result in saving the environment.

Clean energy is electricity generated mostly from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and sometimes low-emission energy sources such as land-fill gas, fuel cells, micro-turbines, and combined cycle co-generation. In contrast to traditional energy sources, these drastically reduce environmental impact. In addition to preventing climate change, reduced acid rain, and less waste, clean energy could embrace possible long-term price stability as well as enhanced electrical capacity and reliability.

There is no doubt that we need to develop clean power, which would also result in job and economic growth. Improvements in these areas over the past few years have made for better technology and lower prices. Clean energy has the power to revive struggling communities, and provide the economic and climate recovery Americans are seeking. Clean energy strategies, in combination with green business development, community-based agriculture, ecotourism, recycling-based manufacturing, and eco-industrial parks, hold the key to job growth, reviving income for households and government.

It is past time for America to go green and achieve energy independence.

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Fiction
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English language textbook
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English language textbook for advanced students of English as a second language
Nonfiction
The story of three young people during the Second World War.
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