Oil imports are at an all time high. Supply and demand cause swings in gasoline prices that at times seem to defy logic. Demand for electricity is rising. Nuclear is seen as one of the promising power generation technologies. Alternative energy is touted as the way forward and talk of energy independence abounds. Welcome to the 1970s.
Here we are, 40 years later, mired in the same muck on the road to energy transition. This is a nation that can build an interstate highway system, lead the development and construction of the International Space Station, deploy a global positioning system, move silicon chips from the Apple IIe to the iPad and smart phones, build and employ the Internet, map the human genome, and develop multiple generations of medical technology. Progress along the road to energy transition neither is restrained by technology nor capability. It is a matter of will and the courage to confront and change the status quo.
We ignore oil's true costs. We regulate, reward and constrain energy industries in a patchwork and non-egalitarian manner. We wait hopefully for the next breakthrough, then protest its deployment. We hatch plans to bury our energy waste and our wasted energy. It is time to tap into the can-do attitude of our nation, marshal the necessary resources, treat this as an energy crisis rather than call it one, consider the common good, and secure a better energy future for our posterity.