It was our single minded reliance on oil that originally got me into the renewable energy industry. I remember the oil embargo in the 70’s, when we could only get gas for our cars based on the last digit of our license plates. If you had a license plate ending with an odd number, then you could get gas on odd numbered days. The lines for gas were really long. Cars would get in long lines to get gas, and then the gas station would run out before everyone got gas. There were even fights over cutting in line. As a young boy, that definitely made an impression on me.
With oil today hovering around $105 a barrel and the political situation in most of the middle east looking very uncertain, it’s hard not to look at the impact that the price of oil has on our economy. It is not hard to see that we do not have any control over our own economy.
This situation is exactly the reason why I believe alternative energy is more of a security issue than a money issue. I would rather spend more for energy that keeps money in our own economy than spend it with foreign economies. Doing so is very sustainable.
When we compare the actual cost of oil. I mean counting everything (pollution, harm to the environment, transportation….) and also include the heave tax credits that the oil industry receives to offset their risk for drilling. Then also compare that to the actual long-term cost of different renewable energy technologies. The renewable technologies will prevail (over the long term). Least of all, we need to take the money we spend on developing the existing technologies (Nuclear, Oil Shale, Tar Sands…..) and at least match that for renewable energy technologies. Better yet, we could spend that money directly to spur actual installation of renewable generation capacity.
Currently renewable energy only provides a fraction of our energy mix (I don’t count hydro-electric). We do not need to worry about destabilizing our electric grid for quite some time. We need to get moving on installing as much renewable energy as possible and reduce our exposure to middle east instability.
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