Opinion

Energy for tomorrow? We’ll see about that

The economy and social welfare of the United States, and each resident thereof, is deeply reliant on the availability of low-cost, reliable energy. The major consumer of energy is industry, which relates to individual employment and the goods and services that support our standard of living. The second-largest consumer of energy is transportation, which relates to the ability to move workers to and from employment and the ability to move goods and services throughout the country. Energy is at the heart of food production, home construction, health services, education and every other vital aspect of our life. As much as oxygen is essential to the sustainability of our individual life, energy is essential to our national and social survival. Thus it is absolutely critical each and every one of us understand the potential impacts of “energy policies” created by elected officials and supported by small groups of single interest activists.

All energy on earth, expended and potential, originated with our sun. In its various forms, energy has allowed mankind to progress from a pre-fire existence to our atom-powered life of today. Along the way, different forms and sources of energy have risen to prominence and then replaced by more efficient sources. In every case, the evolution of energy sources has been gradual and based in sound technological understanding of the transition. Unfortunately, as a nation, we seem to be disregarding one of the key lessons of our species’ history and appear to be embarking on a course of action that is neither scientifically sound nor based in factual evidence.

For a long time, a small segment of our society has tried to restrict the ability of other individuals to achieve the highest possible level of personal success. Over time, restrictions on land ownership, education, wealth assimilation and mobility have been tried in an effort to achieve that goal, but without success. The latest attempts are using fear of self-created global disaster to reign in the individual drive for excellence. The simple relationship of current energy consumption with potential global disaster, no matter how false and unsupported by fact, is the driving force to abandon the use of a primary energy resource and endanger our very existence. The end-use policy that would abandon use of hydrocarbon-based fuels, eliminate hydroelectric power generation and ignore the viability of nuclear power, all in favor of some manner of unproven and non-sustainable “renewable energy,” is a sentence of death to our national being and individual welfare.

The potential to replace current energy sources in the United States with “renewable sources,” including wind, solar and geothermal, is so limited by technical and practical reason as to be near laughable. Talking renewable sources is not the same as producing, storing and distributing that power necessary to support our existing industrial base, much less the growing base we need to flourish. Putting a windmill and solar panels on a rooftop is just fine so long as the power company continues to operate the power plant to support electricity needs when the “renewable” sources are not available. Just how many windmills will Ford, Chrysler and General Motors need to remain in operation, much less remain competitive? How many of the companies represented in your 401K will survive when the coal-fired electric plants are shut down? What will your electric bill look like when the existing power generation facilities are required to triple or quadruple costs to satisfy emission restrictions? Are you ready to eliminate some of the “common” essentials in your life because either there is insufficient power to sustain all or the price is too high? You need to understand that “energy independence” is not independence from energy. It’s time to do your homework, get the actual facts driving our energy policy and then speak out. The life you save will be your children’s.

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