For Your Consideration: A Handful Of Energy Facts To Ponder

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Electric power plant outside Ithaca, New York

Electric power plant outside Ithaca, New York

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It's pretty clear that the United States has absolutely no energy policy at the moment.

Attempts at long-term planning to reduce energy use are largely stalled in the toxic atmosphere of no-holds-barred politics, with the exception of tougher gas-mileage rules for 2017-2025 vehicles that were announced by the Obama Administration earlier this year.

On the one hand, you have numerous small local and Federal programs to encourage conservation, retrofit insulation in homes, require more efficient appliances, and so forth. There's also a desire to bring more energy production on-shore to boost energy security, leading to increased pressure for domestic drilling and natural-gas "fracking".

On the other hand, you have rising public disbelief in climate change, which is largely viewed as accepted science. (Of course, at least one presidential contender said last night he doesn't believe in evolution, so ....)

There's also a visceral aversion by some portion of the electrorate to essentially any Federal efforts to do anything at all, no matter how laudable the goals might be.

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We mostly stay out of those frays, but we rather like data. In that light, we present a couple of excerpts from "Ten Surprising Facts About Our Energy Landscape," posted by Rocky Mountain Institute (complete with nifty infographic).

For instance, a couple about transportation ...

  • The U.S. transportation sector (largely road vehicles) burns 13 million barrels of oil every day, half of it imported.
  • Personal transport (largely in road vehicles) is now the second-highest household expense (after shelter), totaling $740 billion in 2009.

The rest of the 10 facts have to do with energy used for other applications, as well as power generation and some projections about how our energy landscape could evolve over the next 40 years to comprise largely natural gas and renewable sources.

Rocky Mountain Institute has a clear point of view--it favors aggressive investment to cut imported oil, roll out renewable sources, and increase the efficiency of energy usage everywhere--but the post gave us some food for thought.

What are your reactions to RMI's post? Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

[RMI]

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Comments (6)
  1. @John: I applaud you for writing this article. We need more public awareness on these type issues. It is a disgrace that our elected officials are bought and paid for by big business, especially by the oil, coal, and nuclear industries..

  2. You heard the man, ultra-light low drag vehicles. Now we just need car companies to produce them.

  3. I think we're in a transition period, there is a huge shift towards going green and as in the past there are people who are resisting and want the old ways to stay. We've needed to change our ways for sometime, and we're finally off to a good start with cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt for example. And use of wind and solar energy are starting to help us make our energy transition, but this new era is only still just getting started if we can continue moving in a cleaner direction we one day be living healthier and stop burning through our natural resources.

  4. The Rocky Mountain Institute is a joke, a bad one. I thought everyone knew about this fraud. Apparently not. Eventually even the fraudulent Union of Concerned Scientists (which you can join - just provide your credit card data) will come to realize that the future of energy is Thorium. For everything, including small scale electrical generation for autos. One American company has promised that in less than 2 years. One gram of Thorium contains
    enough energy to propel a car for 250,000 miles, no large battery pack needed. Today's energy generators , like windmills,etc,
    will be laughed at by the next generation, as proof that the current generation was pretty brainless and incompetent, and hysterical about climate changes it didn't understand

  5. I just wonder how different the world would be if 10 years ago we decided to spend $1.5 Trillion on renewable energy generation instead revenge and greed.

  6. Here here, It is enough money to put solar panels on the roof of every home in the USA.

    A federal energy policy of any kind would be a welcome change.

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